Skip to main content

Full text of "The Old Bailey and Newgate"

See other formats

^—1 and NEWGAT 


B|rCiiairlei ©^i'do 

•c? i^- 








m /■■'-• 

The date shows when this voluin /was taken. 






4 m Mp 


All bgioUs subject to recall 
- - -All borrowers must regis- 
ter in the library to borrow 
books for home use. 

All books must be re- 
turned at end of college 
year for inspection and 

Limited books must be 
returned within the four 
week limit and not renewed. 
Students must return all 
books before leaving town. 
Officers should arrange for 
the return of books wanted 
during their absence from 
town. , 

Volumes of periodicals 
and of pamphlets are held 
in the library as much as 
possible. For special, pur- 
poses they are given out for 
a limited time. 

Borrowers should not use 

their library privileges for 

the benefitjOf other persons. 

Books of special value 

and gift books. ' when ♦the 

giver wishes it, are not 

allowed to circulate. 

„ Readers are asked to re- 

^ port all cases of books 

marked or mutilated. 

Do not deface books by marks and writing. 

Cornell University Library 
HV9650.L7 G66 

The Old Bailey and Newaate 


3 1924 030 386 662 

Cornell University 

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 






By M. AuREL Stein, Indian Educational Service. 
Demy 8vo, cloth, 2is. net. With upwards 
of 60 Illustrations. 


By Rhys Jenkins, Memb. Inst. Mech. 
Eng. With over 70 Illustrations. 
Medium 8vo, cloth, 21S. net. 


By Mrs. Campbell Traed. With many Illustra- 
tions. Demy 8vo, cloth, i6s. 


By the Countess Evelyn Martinengo 
Cesaresco, Author of " Italian Characters 
in the Epoch of Unification." Demy 8vo, 
photogravure frontispiece, and many other 
Illustrations, cloth, l6s. 


























All Rights Reserved 




The Pillory and Whetstone— Gambling— The Mayor as Policeman- 
Cheats — Liars and their Punishment — A Breviary given to 
Newgate— An Alderman interferes in a Quarrel— Punishment 
for Assaulting an Alderman 


The Old Bailey and Newgate— Fitz-Stephen's description— Earliest 
mention of Newgate— Early Prisoners— The Sheriffs as Custodians 
of the Prisoners— The Festival of the Pui— Wicked Bakers- 
Combination— BeneSt of Clergy— Management of Strikers . 1 



A false Ale Conner— Newgate a Royal Prison— Given to the Citizens 
— Rules for the Officers— Prisoners removed from Ludgate and 
returned— Pest in Newgate— Whittington rebuilds Newgate- 
Royal Licence for same— Newgate in Fourteenth Century — Evil 
May Day ... ... 20 


Prisoners for Faith's sake— John Rogers — Robert Smith — John 
Philpot — Petitions from Prisoners — Abuses in Newgate — Plot 
to Kidnap the Queen of Soots—Roman Catholic Priests and 
others in Newgate — Nonconformists also — Essex's Rebellion . 28 


Spanish Ambassador and Roman Catholic Priests — Escape of Priests 
— Bad State of Newgate — Floyd's Case — Newgate overcrowded 
— Prisoners sent to do the King service — Curious Petition — 
Imprisoned for a trifle — Newgate unsafe— Divers Petitions — 
Lax Guardianship — A Fanatical Prisoner — The Case of Stephen 
Smith ..... . 39 



"The Blaoke Dogg of New-gate" — Metrical Description of the 
Prison — Laxity of Keeper — Killed by Whipping — Powell's Case 
— Dispute as to Keepership — Keeper's Extortion — Case of Lady 
Tresham — Case of Sarah Blomfield — Pestilence in Newgate — Riot 
among Prisoners, owing to Priests being reprieved . . 49 


Accusations against Laud — Riot in Newgate — Royalist Prisoners — 
PuUen's Case — Lilburne's Trial — Capt. Hind's Trial — Moll 
Cutpurse — Prisoner sent to Sea — The Keeper's Claims — 
Quakers in Newgate — Roundheads in Newgate — Fifth 
Monarchy Men — Pepys thereon — Nonconformists in Newgate 
— Escape and Recapture — Fever in Newgate . . .60 


Newgate and the Great Fire — Claude Duval — "Devol's last Fare- 
well" — Pepys and Newgate — Newgate Token — Religious 
Prisoners in Newgate — Mary Carleton, "the German Princess" 75 


Petitions from Prisoners — Prisoners on Accession of William III.^ 
Sale of the Keepership — Metrical Description of Newgate in 
1705 — Ned Ward on Newgate ..... 87 


The Press Yard — Peine forte et dure — Spigot's Case — "History of 
the Press Yard "—Newgate in 1717— The Ordinaries of that 
Time ........ 9fi 


The Master Side and Common Side described — " Garnish " — Instances 

of "Garnish" — Its Abolition — Extortion in Newgate . . 110 


Highwaymen— Prevalence of Crime— The Hangman hanged— Peine 

forte et dure — Women's Interest in a Highwayman — Case of 

James Carrick — Blueskin — Jack Sheppard, his Career 

Escapes, and Execution — Sir James Thornhill paints his 




Peaohum in the Beggars' O/jcto— Jonathan Wild, his Career, Ways 

of Dealing, Trial, and Execution— His Body and Skeleton . 134 



The Case of Catherine Hayes, and her Fearful End — Jenny Diver, 

Champion Thief and Swindler of her Day . . .149 

William Duell, Hanged and Brought to Life again — Cases of Re- 
suscitation — Opinion on Public Executions in 1760 — Maclean, 
' ' the Gentleman Highwayman " — Horace Walpole tells of him 
— Pestilential Prisons — Black Assize at the Old Bailey — 
Ventilation of Newgate ...... 160 


Whipping at the Cart's Tail — Drawn to Execution on a Sledge — 
Thief-taking, a Profession — Four Thief-takers Pilloried : 
one Killed — Attempts to break Prison — Gentlemen Highway- 
men : one Reprieved — Hanged for cheating Creditors — Newgate 
on Fire — The Keeper's Behaviour — Attempt to Escape — 
Cleansing Newgate — Projected New Prison — Fagin's Prototype . 173 


Mrs. Brownrigg — Parliament's Grant to build Newgate — Dance's 
Plan — Beckford lays First Stone —Attempt to Escape — Re- 
forms at the Sessious-^Prisoners bound for Transportation — 
" Sixteen-String Jack " — Escape and Recapture of two Prisoners 
— ^Riot in Newgate — Dr. Dodd — Extra Cost of Newgate— Food 
and Occupation of the Prisoners — Rev. J. Hackman . . 187 


Lord George Gordon — Riots of 1780 — Burning of Newgate — 
Boswell's Description — John Glover's Trial at the Old Bailey — 
Story of the Keys — Dennis, the Hangman — Lord George 
Gordon's subsequent Career and Death — Cost of Damage done 
to Newgate ....... 204 


John Howard — His Reports on Newgate — His Death — Statue in St. 
Paul's — Unsuccessful and Successful Attempts to Escape — 
Executions changed from Tyburn to Newgate, 1783 — Execu- 
tion and Burning of Women— "The Dead Hand"— "The 
Monster "..... ■ 220 

Barrington, the Pickpocket— Riot in Newgate— Hangman wants 
Increased Wages — Base Coin finished in Newgate — Inside 
Newgate in 1815 — Governor Wall — Bellingham shot Mr. 
Perceval ......•■ 234 




Report of the Committee of 1814 on the State of Newgate — Dr. 

Forde's Evidence re Volunteer Missionaries — Letter from One . 244 


Mrs. Fry — Her First Visit to Newgate — Founds a School — Gets a 
Room allotted her — Committee Formed — Work found for the 
Prisoners — Iipprovements in the Prison — Eliza Fenning — Her 
Funeral — Serious Riot in Newgate — Prisoners Escape . . 259 


Spa Fields Riots — Execution of Cashman — Report of the Committee 
of 1818— Cato Street Plot— Execution of Thistlewood and Four 
of his Gang — George Cruikshank and "Bank Restriction" 
Notes — Fauntleroy, the Forger — Other Executions, and last, 
for Forgery ... . . 275 

Laxity in Newgate — Alderman's Report thereon — Report of Com- 
mittee on the Laws relating to Prisons, 1837 — Reconstruc- 
tion of Newgate, 1857 — Women's Side Reconstructed, 1861 — 
Last Batch of Convicts Hanged — The "Flowery Land" Pirates 
— Last Public Execution, 1868 — EflEects of Explosion at Clerken- 
well Prison — New Rules for Executions — Newgate only to be 
used for Sessions Prisoners .... . 287 


Visit to Newgate— Entrance — Press Yard — Chapel — Kitchen — The 
" Debtors' Door " — Gage for Interviews — Shed for Gallows — 
Whipping Block and other Relics — Prisoner's Cell described 
— Prison Cemetery ..... 306 


The Old Bailey— Camden— Peter Bales— Surroundings of the Old 
Bailey— Hogarth's Father — Oliver Goldsmith — Surgeons' Theatre 
— First Sessions House — Ventilation, etc. — New Sessions House 
Interiors of Sessions House— The Sheriffs' Banquet . . 322 

Hanging in the Bible— Hanging at Tyburn— Misson's Account- 
Scenes at Executions — Anecdotes— Etymology of Tyburn,— 
First Execution— Site of Gallows— Jeffries Reprieved— Gardiner 
in his Shroud— Clever Tom Clinch— Bellman's Exhortation- 
New Drop at Newgate— Loss of Life at an Execution- Scandal 
at an Execution — Severity of the Laws — Public Executions— 
" Last Dying Speeches " — Tyburn Tickets . . . 337 

INDEX ........ 359 


Newgate 1902 . . . . . . Frontispiece 

" A Picture describing the manner and place of them which were 
in bonds for the Testimony of the truth, oonfering among 
themselves "... ... 29 

Newgate in 1650 . . ... 63 

Moll Cutpurse . . ..... 67 

Newgate, 1672 ..... .76 

Wm. Spiggot under Pressure in Newgate . . .98 

A Man being Stripped for " Garnish " . . .117 

Jack Sheppard (contemporary etching) .... 124 

' ' The manner of John Shepherd's escape out of the condemn'd Hole 

in Newgate "... ... 125 

"An Exact Representation of ye Holes Shepherd made in ye 

Chimney," etc. ....... 128 

Jack Sheppard in Special Irons .... 130 

Irons said to be worn by Jack Sheppard, shown in Newgate . . 131 

" The London rairey Shows, or who'll step into Ketch's Theatre ?" . 137 

Jonathan Wild going to Execution . . . 143 

Jonathan "Wild's House in the Old Bailey, 1813 . . 144 

Portrait of Jonathan "Wild, etc. . . 147 

The Story of Catherine Hayes . . 154 

The Resuscitation of Wm. Duell . . . . .161 

James Maclean, " the Gentleman Highwayman " . . 164 

Maclean at his Trial at the Old Bailey . . 166 

The Windmill Ventilation on Newgate . . ... 171 

Stroud whipped at the Cart's Tail . . .174 

Dr. Cameron drawn on a sledge to Tyburn . . .175 

Egan, the Thief -taker, killed in the Pillory . . . .177 

Execution of Perrot at Smithfield . . . . 180 

Dance's Eirst Plan for Newgate ... . 184 


Mrs. Brownrigg .... 

Mrs. Brownrigg beating her Servant 

Dance's Second Plan for Newgate 

The Inner View of Newgate 

Transports going from Newgate to the River 

John Rann, " Sixteen-String Jack " 

Lord George Gordon. 1st August 1780 

Burning of Newgate (published 1780) . 

Burning of Newgate (published 1781) . 

Portrait of John Howard 

Howard's Statue in St. Paul's Cathedral 

Clergyman in the Condemned Hold 

"The Dead Hand" . 

' ' The Monster cutting a Lady " 

" Copper bottoms to prevent being cut " 

Renwiok Williams 

John Bellingham 

Inner Court of Newgate, 1809 

" In prison, and ye came unto Me " 

Mrs. Try and Pemale Prisoners 

Mrs. Fry's Room (1902) 

Mrs. Pry 

Arthur Thistlewood .... 

Arthur Thistlewood's Execution 

Cruikshank's " Bank Restriction " Note 

Cruikshank's " Bank Restriction " Note variety 

Interior of Male Prison at Newgate, 1858-1902 

Execution of " Flowery Land " Pirates 

Their Burial-Place in Newgate 

The Main Entrance to the Prison 

The Reception Room . 

The Press Yard .... 

The Prison Chapel, 1902 

The Prison Chapel, previously 

Yard showing Part of Prison, and Kitchen Door 

Inside of the " Debtors' Door '' 

Outside of the " Debtors' Door " 

The Gallows Shed, and Visiting Cage . 


. 188 

. 189 

. 191 

. 193 


. 196 

. 205 

. 207 

. 217 

. 220 


. 225 


. 229 


. 232 

. 242 


. 260 

. 262 


. 269 

. 280 

. 281 


. 285 


. 301 

. 303 

. 307 

. 308 

. 309 

. 310 



. 313 

. 314 

. 315 



The Whipping Block ... . .317 

Whipping outside the Sessions House . .319 

Interior of a Prisoner's Cell . . . 320 

The Prison Cemetery . . . 321 

Oliver Goldsmith's House in 1803 . 325 

Surgeons' Theatre, Old Bailey . 326 

Justice Hall in the Old Bailey 328 

Interior of Sessions House, 1773 . 330 

New Sessions House, and new Newgate . . 331 

The Old Bailey, 1814 ... .332 

Interior of Sessions House, 1821 333 

Interior of Sessions House, modern , 334 

Summer-y Justice — the Heat of Argument 335 

The Sheriffs' daily Banquet during Trials . 33.5 

Edward Jefferies Fainting on being Reprieved 342 

Stephen Gardiner in his Shroud . 343 

The Bellman of St. Sepulchre's . 345 

The Gallows outside Newgate . 347 

" Hell-Fire Jack " . . 350 

Scene in the Old Bailey before an Execution . 351 

The Execution of Wild Robert . . 355 

The Execution of Robert Blakesley . . . 357 

Blakesley's Interview with his Father, previous to his Execution . 357 



The Old Bailey and Newgate — ritz-Stephen's description — Earliest mention 
of Newgate — Early Prisoners — The Sheriffs as Custodians of the 
Prisoners — The Festival of the Pui — Wicked Bakers— Combination — 
Benefit of Clergy — Management of Strikers. , 

The Old Bailey evidently takes its name from the Ballium, 
r r or external wall of defence which existed between Ludgate 
'" '^ - and Newgate, which ran along the east side of that some- 
what narrow and crooked street known as the Old Bailey. 
This wall, or Ballium, surrounded the city, and Fitz-Stephen, 
the first historian of the city of London, in his Desmptio 
ndbilissimce Civitatis Londonice, mentions that it had seven 
gates. Anent this, Stow says : " In the reign of Henry ii. 
(saith Fitz-Stephen) there were seven double gates in the 
wall of this city, but he nameth them not. It may there- 
fore be supposed he meant for the first the gate next the 
Tower of London, now commonly called the Postern, the 
next be Aeldgate, the third Bishopsgate, the fourth Ealders- 
gate, the fifth Newgate, the sixth Ludgate, the seventh 
Bridgegate." This, in all probability, was the current 
tradition in Stow's time, but it does not guide us as to the 
date of its construction. 

But, when he comes to describe and give a history of the 
Gate, he is much more explicit. "The next gate on the 
west, and by north, is termed Newgate, as latelier built 
than the rest, and is the fifth principal gate. This gate 
was first erected about the reign of Henry i., or of King 
Stephen, upon this occasion. The cathedral church of St. 


Paul, being burnt about the year 1086, in the reign of - 
"WiUiam the Conqueror, Mauritius, then Bishop of London, 
repaired not the old church, as some have supposed, but 
began the foundation of a new work, such as men then 
judged would never have been performed ; it was to them so 
wonderful for height, length, and breadth, as also in respect 
it was raised upon arches, or vaults, a kind of workmanship 
brought in by the Normans, and never known to the artificers 
of this land before that time, etc. After Mauritius, Eichard 
Beamore did wonderfully advance the work of the said 
church, purchasing the large streets and lanes round about, 
wherein were wont to dwell many lay people, which grounds 
he began to compass about with a strong wall of stone and 
gates. By means of this increase of the church territory, 
but more, by enclosing the ground for so large a cemetery, 
or churchyard, the high and large street stretching from 
Aldegate in the east, until Ludgate in the west, was, in this 
place, so crossed and stopped up that the carriage, through 
the city westward, was forced to pass without the said 
churchyard wall on the north side, through Paternoster 
Eow, and then south, down Ave Mary Lane, and again 
west, through Bowyer Eow to Ludgate; or else out of 
Cheepe, or Watheling Street, to turn south through the 
Old Exchange, then west, through Carter Lane, again north 
by Creede Lane, and then west to Ludgate ; which passage, 
by reason of so often turning, was very cumbersom and 
dangerous both for horse and man ; for remedy whereof a 
new gate was made, and so called, by which men and cattle, 
with all manner of carriages, might pass more directly (as 
afore) from Aldegate, through West Cheape by Paules, on 
the north side ; through St. Nicholas shambles and Newgate 
Market to Newgate, and from thence to any part westward 
over Oldborne Bridge ; or turning without the gate into 
Smithfielde, and through Isledon to any part north, and by 
west. This gate hath of long time been a gaol, or prison, 
for felons and trespassers, as appeareth by records ^ in the 
reign of King John, and of other kings ; amongst the which 
I find one testifying that, in the year 1218, the third year of 

' Cloae Roll. 


King Henry iii., the king writeth unto the sheriffs of London, 
commanding them to repair the gaol of Newgate for the 
safe keeping of his prisoners, promising that the charges 
laid out should he allowed unto them upon their account in 
the Exchequer." 

Mr. J. E. Price, in a contribution to the Transactions of 
the London and Middlesex Archmological Society, " On Eecent 
Discoveries in Newgate Street " (vol. v. p. 415), says that 
the gate is not mentioned prior to the Norman Conquest, 
but that the first reference to it is to be found in the Pipe 
EoUs, 34 Henry 11., 1188, when the sura of 66 shillings and 
8 pence was paid for the land on which the gaol was to 
be built. I have not been able to verify this, but both 
Mr. Price and Mr. Eiley, to whom he refers, were pains- 
taking antiquaries, and I see no reason to doubt their 

Naturally, in those early days, the records of so small a 
prison as Newgate, for it was only a gate-house, are very 
meagre; but Stow tells us how, "in the year 1241, the Jews 
of Norwich were hanged for circumcising a Christian child ; 
their house, called the Thor, was pulled down and destroyed ; 
Aron, the son of Abraham, a Jew, at London, and the other 
Jews were constrained to pay twenty thousand marks at two 
terms in the year, or else be kept perpetual .prisoners in 
Newgate of London, and in other prisons. In 1255, King 
Henry iii., lodging in the Tower of London, upon dis- 
pleasure conceived towards the city of London, for the 
escape of John Offrem, a prisoner, being a clerk convict, 
out of Newgate, which had killed a prior that was of 
alliance to the king, as cousin to the queen : he sent for 
the mayor and sheriffs to come before him to answer the 
matter ; the mayor laid the fault from him to the sheriffs, 
for as much as to them belonged the keeping of all prisoners 
within the city ; and so the mayor returned home, but the 
sheriffs remained there prisoners by the space of a month and 
more ; and yet they excused themselves, in that the fault 
chiefly rested in the bishop's officers; for, whereas the 
prisoner was under custody, they, at . his request, had 
granted licence to imprison the offender within the gaol of 
Newgate, but so as the bishop's officers were charged to 


see liim safely kept. The king, notwithstanding all this, 
demanded of the city three thousand marks for a fine." 

But the old letter-books of the Corporation of the City 
of London furnish us with most particulars known about 
Newgate in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and 
these have been gathered together for us, under the title of 
Memorials of London and London Life in the Thirteenth, 
Fourteenth, and Fifteenth. Centuries, by H. T. Eiley, to whom 
we are also indebted for the editing of those other civic 
literary treasures, the Liber Alius, the Liher Custumarum, 
etc. The first case occurs on Thursday, the Feast of St. 
Dunstan (19th May 1278), when "the Chamberlain and 
Sheriffs were given to understand that one, Henry de 
Lanfare, was lying dead in the house of Sibil le Feron,'^ in 
the ward of Chepe, in the parish of Colcherche. Upon 
hearing which, etc. And having called together all the 
good men of that Ward, and of the Ward of John de 
Blakethorn, and the Ward of Henry de Frowyk, diligent 
inquisition was made thereon. 

" Who say that one Eichard dC Codesfold having fled 
to the church of St. Mary, Stanigeslane,^ in London, by 
reason of a certain robbery being by one William de London, 
cutler, imputed to him, and the said William pursuing him 
on his flight thereto, it so happened that on the night of the 
Day of the Invention of the Holy Cross (5th May), in the 
present year, there being many persons watching about the 
church aforesaid, to take him, in case he should come out, 
a certain Henry de Lanfare, an ironmonger, one of the 
persons on the watch, hearing a noise in the church, and 
thence fearing that the said Eichard was about to get out 
by another part of the church, and so escape through a 
breach that there was in a certain glass window therein, 
went to examine it. The said Eichard and one Thomas, the 
then clerk of that church, perceiving this, the said Thomas, 
seizing a lance, without an iron head, struck at Henry, 
before mentioned, through the hole in the window, and 
wovmded him between the nose and the eye, penetrating 
almost to the brain. From the effects of which wound he 

' Ironmonger. " Staining Lane. 


languished until the Day of St. Dunstan, when he died, at 
about the third hour. They say, also, that as well, the said 
Eiehard, as Thomas, before mentioned, are guilty of that 
felony, seeing that Eiehard was consenting thereto. 

"And the said Thomas was taken, and imprisoned in 
Newegate, and afterwards delivered before Hamon Hawe- 
teyn, Justiciar of Newegate. And the said Eiehard still 
keeps himself within the church before named. Being 
asked if they hold any more persons suspected as to that 
death, they say they do not. They have no goods nor 
chattels. And the body was viewed, upon which no other 
injury, or wound, was found, save only the wound aforesaid. 

"And the two neighbours nearest to the spot where 
he was wounded, were attached; and the two neighbours 
nearest to the place where he died ; and the said Sibil was 
attached, in whose house he died." 

Here we see the whole course of criminal procedure in 
this case of misadventure : we have the inquest, the right 
of sanctuary, the commitment to Newgate, as to a modern 
police station, and the prompt appearance before the jus- 
ticiar, or magistrate. It seems rather hard to attach the 
persons nearest to the scene, but it was probably only a 
matter of form, and would be of slight inconvenience. 

In 1312, we have an inquisition held regarding the 
building on some land between Ivy Lane and Eldedenes- 
lane,^ and the report says : " They say also, that if a case 
should arise, as in time of war, when the gates of Ludegate 
and Neugate would have to be guarded, such watch and 
ward could not be kept in due manner, if the said place 
should be built upon, as before stated : and so it would be 
to the prejudice of our Lord the King, and the whole of the 
City." The gates of the city were, naturally, important 
fortresses, and one of them, Bishopsgate, had to be kept 
in repair and garrisoned at need by the Guild of Hanse 

In the Liber Citstumarum of the city of London, we 
meet with several early notices of Newgate as a prison; 
for instance, in 1256, when several men were committed 

1 Old Dean's Lane, now Warwick Lane. 


thither for using "kidels"^ and illegal nets. In 1300, 
Edward i. issued a writ commanding the mayor and sheriffs 
to produce certain prisoners at Gloucester, to answer the 
charge of a certain approver. The mayor replied that he 
had no charge of prisoners, and, therefore, was not respon- 
sible for them: and the sheriffs made answer that two of 
them, Mannekyn le Heaumer and Laurent le Poleter, being 
freemen of the city, had been released from Newgate on 
mainprise, but that they were willing to deliver the others 
to the marshal of the king's household, but not to take 
them beyond the city without security for payment of their 

The Liber Aldus of the city of London tells us that on 
the day of the new sheriffs assuming office, " After dinner 
the old and new Sheriffs shall go together to the prison of 
Neugate, and there the new Sheriff's shall receive all the 
prisoners by indenture made between them and the old 
Sheriffs, and shall place due safeguard there at their own 
peril, without letting the gaol to ferm." The mayor had 
previously delivered "the cocket," or seal of Newgate, to 
such sheriff as he himself shall have chosen, and the gaoler 
of Newgate and his clerk were sworn "each according to 
that which pertains unto the position which he holds." 
The sheriff had the custody of the keys and seal of Newgate 
until the Vigil of St. Michael (28th February), when he 
returned them into the mayor's hands. Henry i. granted 
the citizens liberty to elect " Justiciars " from among them- 
selves, and the chief magistrate (who was not called mayor 
until Henry the Third's time) was always one ; and, as far 
as I can find, the earliest mention of his connection as 
" Justiciar " with Newgate is in a charter of the twelfth year 
of Edward ii. 

In 1302, there is a royal writ enjoining the delivery to 
the jailer of Newgate of certain Londoners imprisoned at 

In 1303, a band of good fellows instituted the " Festival 
of the Pui." And this is the preamble of their Articles of 
Association :—" In honour of God, Our Lady Saint Mary, 

^ Weirs. 


and all Saints, both male and female ; and in honour of our 
Lord the King and all the Barons of the country ; and for 
the increasing of loyal love. And to the end that the City 
of London may be renowned for all good things in all 
places ; and to the end that mirthfulness, peace, honesty, 
joyousness, gaiety, and good love, without infinity, may be 
maiatained. And to the end that all blessings may be set 
before us, and all evils [cast] behind. — The loving com- 
panions who are dwelling in and repairing unto the good 
City of London have ordained, confirmed, and established a 
festival that is called the ' PuL' And to the end that the 
aforesaid festival may be maintained in peace and in love, 
each one ought to bind himself by his affiance, firmly, as 
reputable men, that so long as there shall be five com- 
panions, he shall be bound to be the sixth, and shall be 
bound to obey all the commandments good and lawful of 
the ' Pui.' " 

It was a kindly benefit society, with a decided religious 
tendency, and yet they had a great feast together, and sang 
songs, and whoever sang the best new song was crowned 
prince until the next occasion; and they forgot not the 
poor and miserable, for " the remnant that shall remain 
after the feast, and all. the provision that is made for the 
victualling of the entire feast of the Pui, and such things as 
shall remain, and not be used, are to be safely kept until the 
morrow ; and then this residue is to be divided and given 
to the prisoners of ISTewegate, to the poor hospitals, and to 
the other needs of the City as an alms for all the company." 

People were committed to Newgate for many causes. 
In 1320, John de Sloghtre, a chaplain, was put into the 
Tun, a round prison in Cornhill, for " night walking," and 
" afterwards, on the Saturday following, he was taken before 
the mayor, and, because he was carrying arms, against the 
peace, and against the cry made in the City, he was com- 
mitted to the Gaol of Neugate." 

In 1327 a curious fraud was revealed, and eight bakers 
and two bakeresses were tried for falsely and maliciously 
obtaining their own private advantage, did skilfully and 
artfully cause a certain hole to be made upon a table, called 
a " molding horde," after the manner of a mouse-trap. The 


indictment of one of them goes on to state, " and when his 
neighbours and others, who were wont to bake their bread' 
at his oven, came with their dough, or material for making 
bread, the said John used to put such dough or other 
material upon the said molding horde, and over the hole, 
for the purpose of making loaves tlierefrom, for baking; 
and such dough, or material, being so placed upon the 
table aforesaid, the same John had one of his household, 
ready provided for the same, sitting in secret beneath such 
table ; which servant of his, so seated beneath the hole, and 
carefully opening it, piecemeal and bit by bit craftily with- 
drew some of the dough aforesaid, frequently collecting 
great quantities from such dough, falsely, wickedly, and 
maliciously, to the great loss of all his neighbours and 
persons living near, and of others who had come to him 
with such dough to bake, and to the scandal and disgrace 
of the whole City ; and, in especial, of the Mayor and Bailiffs 
for the safe keeping of the assizes of the City assigned." 
They were very properly punished. Those bakers under 
whose boards dough had been found had to stand in the 
pillory with some of the dough hung round their necks ; 
those who had false boards, but on whose premises no 
dough was found, suffered the pillory only, whilst the two 
bakeresses were committed to Newgate. 

In a proclamation made in the city when Edward iii. 
left for France (1329), offences are mentioned, as punishable 
by imprisonment, of which we have no cognisance. " And 
that no one of the City, of whatsoever condition he may be, 
shall go out of this City to maintain parties, such as taking 
seisins, or holding days of love.^ or making other congrega- 
tions, within the City, or without, in disturbance of the 
peace of our Lord the King, or in affray of the people, and 
to the scandal of the City. And, if any person, of what- 
soever condition or estate he be, shall, from henceforth be 
found guilty thereof, let him be taken and put in the prison 
of Neugate ; and there let him remain for a year and a day, 
without being replevied ; and, if he be free of the City, let 
him for ever lose his freedom." 

' Daya of reconciliation between persons at variance. 


Newgate" was also used as a house of detention, as we 
learn in a case of highway robbery (1346), where one of the 
prisoners pleaded that he was a clerk, " wherefore he was 
sent back to the prison of our Lord the King at Neugate " — 
but being found guilty, benefit of clergy was not given him, 
and he was hanged. This privilege was accorded to all who 
could read, and the offender was let off by being burnt on 
his hand. It was much restricted by Henry vii. in 1489, 
and abolished, with respect to murderers and other great 
criminals, by Henry viii. in 1532. The reading was dis- 
continued by 5 Anne, c. 6 (1706), and benefit of clergy was 
wholly repealed by 7 and 8 George iv., c. 27 (1827). 

This is how they dealt with men on strike in those 
days (1356) : " On Thursday next, before the Feast of St. 
Barnabas the Apostle (II June), John Symond, shipwright, 
was attached by Antony, the sergeant, by precept of the 
Mayor, and committed to the Prison of Neugate ; for that 
he was rebellious against the masters of the works of our 
Lord the King, and refused, in conformity with an agree- 
ment thereon made among themselves, to serve in doing the 
said work of our Lord the King." 


The Pillory and Whetstone— Gambling— The Mayor aa Policeman— Cheats 
—Liars and their Punishment— A Breviary given to Newgate— An 
Alderman interferes in a Quarrel — Punishment for Assaulting an 

In 1364, one John de Hakford, was brought before the 
mayor for bringing a false charge of conspiracy against the 
chief men of the city. He was found guilty, and his 
sentence was that " the said John shall remain in prison for 
one whole year and a day. . . . And the said John, within 
such year, shall, four times, have the punishment of the 
pillory, that is to say, one day in each quarter of the 
year, . . . and in this manner : — The said John shall come 
out of Neugate without hood or girdle, barefoot and unshod, 
with a whetstone ^ hung by a chain from his neck, and lying 
on his breast, it being marked with the words, 'A false 
liar'; and there shall be a pair of trumpets trumpeting 
before him on his way to the pillory ; and there the cause of his 
punishment shall be solemnly proclaimed. And the said John 
shall remain on the pillory for three hours of the day, and from 
thence shall be taken back to Neugate in the same manner, 
there to remain until his punishment shall be completed." 

In those days it would have been a sad time for up-to- 
date journalism, for the pillory and whetstone were meted 
out to all who circulated lies. In 1371, one Nicholas 
Mollere, gave reins to his fancy. He asserted at the Guild- 
hall, that "on the Saturday next, after the' Feast of the 
Holy Trinity, it was to be publicly proclaimed throughout 
the whole of the City that all merchants alien might come 
to buy and sell all manner of merchandise in the same 
City, as freely as the freemen of the same. And that no 

■■ This has been supposed to be typical of a sharp tongue, and has always 
been associated with lying. 



pleas from henceforth were to be pleaded within the City 
before the Mayor, Aldermen, or Sheriffs; but that all 
persons, as well those of the city as others, were, in future, 
to plead at Westminster before the Justiciars of our Lord 
the King. And that all the prisoners in Neugate were to 
be taken to the Tower of London, and there was no longer 
to be any prison at Neugate." He was duly invested with 
the Order of the Whetstone. 

Crime of that day was very similar to that of our own. 
Here is a story of " rooks " and "pigeons " in 1376. " Nicholas 
Prestone, tailor, and John Outlawe, were attached to make 
answer to John atte Hille, and William his brother, in a 
plea of deceit and falsehood ; for, that the same John 
Outlawe, at divers times, between the Feast of Our Lord's 
Nativity, and the first Sunday in Lent, then next ensuing, 
came to the said John atte Hille and William, and asked 
if they wished to gain some money at tables, or at chequers, 
commonly called 'qiieh'; to which they said 'Yes'; where- 
upon the said John Outlawe said that they must follow him, 
and he would shew them the place, and a man there, from 
whom they could easily win ; and, further, said that he 
would be partner with them, to win or lose. 

" And they followed him to the house of the said Nicholas, 
in Friday Street ; and there they found the said Nicholas, 
with a pair of tables, on the outside of which was painted a 
chequer board, that is called a ' qtiek' And the said Nicholas 
asked them if they would play at tables for money ; where- 
upon the said complainants, knowing of no deceit or ill 
intent, being urged and encouraged thereto by the same 
John Outlawe, played with him at tables, and lost a sum of 
money, owing to false dice. 

" And the said John then left them to play alone ; and, 
after that, they still continued to lose. The tables were 
then turned, and the complainants played \\ith the 
defendant Nicholas at qudt, until they had lost, at the games 
of tables and qiieli, 39s. 2d. After which, the complainants, 
wondering at their continued losing, examined the board at 
which they had been playing, and found it to be false and 
deceptive ; seeing that in three-quarters of the board all the 
[black] points were so depressed, that all the white points 


in the same quarters were higher than the white. They 
inspected and examined also the dice with which they had 
first played at tables, and found them to be false and 
deceptive. And, because that they would play no longer, 
the said Nicholas and John Outlawe stripped John atte 
Hille of a cloak, 16 shillings in value, which they still 
retained." The two rogues were found guilty, and they had 
to stand in the pillory for an hour, the false chequer-board, 
being burnt beneath them ; the sheriff causing the reason 
for their punishment to be proclaimed. And, after that, 
they were taken back to Newgate, there to remain until the 
mayor and alderman should give orders for their release. 

There was in lo76 a wicked man who earned three 
weeks' captivity in Newgate "for that he had silvered 
240 buttons of latone ^ and 34 circlets of latone for purses 
called 'gibesers,'^ and had maliciously purposed and 
imagined to sell the same for pure silver, in deceit of the 

The police of that time must have been very ineffective, 
for we find that on 7th March 1378 "the Mayor related 
how that he had gone to quell an affray in Westchepe, 
adding also that some who had been arreated by him, and 
handed over to the mace-bearers to take to prison, had been 
rescued by persons to him unknown; and how that, in 
another place, namely, the lower part of Friday Street, 
when some others had been arrested, and delivered to the 
Sheriffs mace-bearers, to take to the prison of Neugate, a 
rescue was again effected, by persons unknown." 

The two following gentlemen richly deserved their 
accommodation in Newgate. On 24th October 1380, John 
Warde and Eichard Lynham were brought before the 
mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs, "and questioned for that, 
whereas they were stout enough to work for their food and 
raiment, and had their tongues to talk with, they did there 
pretend that they were mutes, and had been deprived of 
their tongues ; and went about in divers places of the City 
aforesaid, carrying in their hands two ell measures, an iron 

' Laten, a kind of brass. 

^ A corruption of the Norman French gipciere, a, purse or pouch, hung 
from the girdle. 


hook and pincers, and a piece of leather, in shape like part 
of a tongue, edged with silver, and with writing around it to 
this effect — ' This is the tongue of John Warded with which 
instruments, and by means of divers signs, they gave many 
persons to understand that they were traders, in token 
whereof they carried the said ell measures ; and that they 
had been plundered of their goods, and that their tongues 
had also been torn out with the said hook, and then cut off 
with the pincers ; they make a horrible noise, like unto a 
roaring, and opening their mouths ; where it seemed to all 
who examined the same, that their tongues had been cut 
off; to the defrauding of other poor and infirm persons, and 
in manifest deceipt of the whole of the people, etc. 

"Wherefore they were asked how they would acquit 
themselves thereof; upon which they acknowledged that 
they had done all the things above imputed unto them. 
And, as it appeared to the Court that, of their evil intent 
and falsity they had done the things aforesaid, and in 
deceit of all the people ; and to the end that other persons 
might beware of such and the like evil intent, falsity, and 
deceit, it was awarded that they should be put upon the 
pillory on three different days, each time for one hour in 
the day ; namely, on the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 
before the feast of St. Simon and St. Jude (28 Oct.), 
the said instruments being hung about their necks each day. 
And precept was given to the Sheriffs to do execution of the 
judgment aforesaid, and to have proclamation made there 
each day as to the cause thereof; which punishment being 
completed, they were instructed to have them taken back to 
the Gaol of Neugate, there to remain until orders should be 
given for their release." 

Especially hard were the patres conscripti on liars and 
slanderers, and we find three cases of commitment to 
Newgate for this offence recorded in 1381 and 1382. " On 
the 29th day of November, in the fifth year of King 
Eichard 11., Simon Figge of Sarre, near Sandwich, was 
brought here, into the Hall of the Guildhall, before the 
Mayor and Aldermen, for that the said Mayor was given 
to understand that the same Simon had been going about 
in divers places, falsely saying, and maliciously lying 


therein, that a man, to him unknown, had slain another 
man in Wodestrete, belonging to the household of the Earl 
of JSTorthumberland, and had then fled to a certain church. 
And that six men of a certain other lord, whose names were 
to him unknown, then went there, and took him therefrom, 
and carried him off through the midst of the people keeping 
ward at the Gate of Crepulgate, in spite of them, and striking 
their lances to the ground where he, the same Simon, in the 
struggle between the six men and those keeping the gate, 
took the iron head of a lance, called a darte, and carried it 
off in his hand : and this he saw, and was present thereat, as 
he asserted. 

" And the said Mayor recorded that he had previously 
acknowledged to him that he had said this, and that he had 
falsely lied therein. And being now questioned thereon, he 
could say nothing, but put himself upon the favour of the 
Court. And because that the said Mayor and Aldermen 
had the King's commands to keep in peace the said City, and 
the suburbs thereof, so as to have no strife or affray therein, 
and especially at this time of the present Parliament ; and 
so if that lie should reach the ears of him, our Lord the 
King, the whole city might easily be damnified thereby ; 
and also because that through that same lie dissensions 
might easily- — and might not such be the case ? — arise 
betwixt the nobles of the realm, etc., it was adjudged that 
the said Simon should be put upon the pillory, there to 
remain for one hour of the day, with a whetstone hung from 
his neck. And precept was given to the Sheriffs to do 
execution of the judgment aforesaid, and to have the cause 
thereof there proclaimed. And after such punishment they 
were to send the same Simon back to the prison of Neugate, 
there to remain until the said Mayor and Aldermen should 
have been more fully advised as to his release." 

This falsehood was comparatively mild, and seems to 
have been harshly punished, for he received the same 
penalty as was given to a wicked maltman named Stephen 
Scot on 25th March 1382, who " went about in divers places 
as well within the City as without, falsely saying, and 
maliciously lying therein, and telling a great number of 
people that the said Mayor had been committed to the 


Tower of London, there to be imprisoned in a place called 
Blakcliallc." As a matter of fact, this mayor, John de 
Northampton, was, about two years afterwards, banished to 
Tintagel Castle, in Cornwall, on a charge of sedition, but his 
sentence was reversed, and he was restored to his former 
position. He was a violent opponent of Sir Mcholas 
Brembre, who was four times mayor (1377, 1383, 1384, 
1385), and Nicholas Exton, who was twice mayor (1386, 
1387), and a strong antagonist of the monopoly of the fish- 
mongers, which they as strenuously supported. This 
explanation is necessary in order to comprehend the 
following libel: — 

" Nicholas Maynard, John Seman, Thomas Dadyngtone, 
and Kichard Fiffyde were severally questioned before the 
Mayor and Aldermen in the Inner Chamber of the Guildhall 
of London on the 7th day of November (1382) whether one 
John Filiol, fishmonger, in the house of the said Thomas 
Dadyngtone, in the Parish of St. Mary, Somersete, on the 
"Wednesday next after the Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude 
(28 Oct.) last past, said that John Northamptone, the 
Mayor, had falsely and maliciously deprived the fishmongers 
of their bread ; whereupon the said Eichard Fiffyde said 
that he and all the other fishmongers of London were bound 
to put their hands beneath the very feet of Nicholas Extone, 
for his good deeds and words in behalf of the trade afore- 
said. Upon his saying which, the said Nicholas Maynard 
then averred that for a whole house full of gold he would not 
have been in the place of the said Nicholas Extone at the 
Common Council then last past ; whereupon, the said John 
Filiol said, that for half the house full of gold he would 
asserted the said Mayor to be a false scoundrel or harelot ; 
and he would like to have a fight with him as to the same 
at Horsedoune,^ etc. 

" As to the which the same John Filiol being questioned 
before the said Mayor and Aldermen, he acknowledged that 
he had spoken in manner aforesaid. And, as the Mayor and 
Aldermen wished more fully to deliberate as to pronouncing 
judgment on the same, a day was given to him to hear 

' Horsleydown, then an open space. 


judgment, the 10th day of November following; and he was 
committed to prison in the meantime. Upon which day, by 
common assent of the Mayor and Aldermen aforesaid, it was 
adjudged that the same John Filiol should be imprisoned at 
Neugate in a place there called Bocardo ^ for one year then 
next ensuing, unless he should deserve more extended favour 
in the meantime. 

" Afterwards, on the 6th day of December in the same 
year, the said John Filiol was liberated at the instance 
of his friends on the surety of William ISTaufretone and 

For playing with a false qneh, or chequer-board, one 
WilUam Soys was committed to Newgate, besides the 
punishment of the pillory, as was also John de Strattone, 
for forgery and false pretences, both in 1382. 

In one of the letter-books of the Corporation for this 
year is the following : — " Be it remembered, that on the 10th 
day of June, in the 5th year of King Ptichard ii., Henry 
Bever, Parson of the church of St. Peter in Bradstret, 
executor of Hugh Tracey, Chaplain, came here before the 
Mayor and Aldermen, and produced a certain book, called a 
PortehoTs} which the said Hugh had left to the Gaol of 
Neugate in order that priests and clerks there imprisoned 
might say their service from the same ; there to remain, so 
long as it might last. 

" And so, in form aforesaid, the book was delivered unto 
David Berteville, Keeper of the gaol aforesaid, to keep it in 
such manner as long as he should hold that office, who was 
also then charged to be answerable for it. /.nd it was to be 
fully allowable for the said Henry to enter the gaol afore- 
said twice in every year, at such times as he should please 
— those times being suitable times — for the purpose of 
seeing how the said book was kept." 

We have seen what an awful thing it was to speak evil 
of civic dignities. What should be done to. the man who 

^ Bocardo was the name of the old North Gate of Oxford, which was used 
as a prison : taken down in 1771. Latimer, in one of his sermons, says : 
" Was not this [Achab] a seditious fellow ? Was he not worthy to be cast 
into bocardo, or little ease ?" This Bocardo at Oxford was the prelate's last 
prison previous to his martyrdom. 

2 A portifory, or breviary of daily prayers, of a size easy to carry about. 


touched their sacred persons? In 1387 Nicholas Exton 
was mayor, and on the 30th January he held a court in the 
chamber of the Guildhall at which " William Hughlot was 
attached to make answer, as well to the Commonalty of the 
City of London, as to John Eote, Alderman of the said City, 
in a plea of trespass and contempt: who made plaint by 
John Eeche, Common Counter of the said City, that the said 
"William, on the Saturday last past, went into the house of 
John Elyngham, barber, in the parish of St. Dunstan's 
West, in Fletestrete, in the suburb ' of London, and, against 
the will of the same John Elyngham, by force of arms 
entered the same; and there, upon the same John, made 
assault, and, with his knife, called a dagger, struck him, and 
wounded, beat, and maltreated him. 

"Whereupon, the wife of the said John Elyngham, 
seeing her husband so maltreated and beaten, and perceiving 
the aforesaid John Eote passing along the King's highway 
towards the church of St. Dunstan's aforesaid, with great 
outcry called aloud for him to come and help her husband, 
whom the said William was trying to slay. Wherefore 
the said Alderman, by reason of the office which he held, 
whereby he was bound to the utmost of his power to keep 
and maintain the peace as being an officer of the King, went 
there ; and, upon seeing the said William so assaulting 
John Elyngham aforesaid, he notified him that he was an 
Alderman of the City, and an officer of our Lord the King, and 
commanded him to desist from his violent and evil conduct, 
and surrender himself to the peace of our Lord the King. 
Upon which, the same William, though well knowing that 
he was an Alderman and an officer in the City of our Lord 
the King, refused to yield himself up, but, with the same 
knife made assault upon the Alderman himself, and would 
have struck him therewith; whereupon, the Alderman 
seized his hand in which he held the Knife, and forced him 
to put it back into the sheath ; and then further, the said 
William, persisting in his malice, drew his sword upon the 
Alderman, and would have slain him, had not the Alderman 
manfully defended himself. 

' I.e. without the walls. 


"And upon this, John Wilman, who was one of the 
constables of Fletestrete, hearing the affray aforesaid, went 
there, and seeing that this William was trying to slay the 
said Alderman with his sWord, so drawn, went up to him 
and attempted to arrest him; but he refused to submit 
to such arrest, and again drawing his dagger wounded the 
constable with it. 

" Wherefore, enquiry was now made of him, how he would 
acquit himself thereof; upon which he acknowledged he 
had done all the things aforesaid, and that, in manner 
above stated, he was guilty of the same. 

"Also, on the same Wednesday, the aforesaid William 
was interrogated for that, while he was imprisoned in the 
gaol of Neugate, for the trespass and contempt before 
mentioned, there, in the presence of Eichard Jardeville, 
Eobert Hallokestone, David Berteville, John Walworth, 
and John Horwode, and many others, as faithfully attested, 
he threatened the Mayor and Alderman aforesaid, and said 
that he had to thank Nicholas Extone for his imprisonment, 
but that, perhaps, in seven years or so to come, he would 
find all his Lords and friends forsaking him ; and, also, he 
said that the Court of the Guildhall of London was the 
very worst, and most false Court in all England, for con- 
demning him without hearing his answer, etc. ; whereas, 
in truth, no judgment had been given on his case, save 
only, that he was to be committed to prison, until the 
Court should be advised as to giving judgment on the 
matter ; such words being uttered expressly to the disgrace 
and dishonour of our Lord the King, and of all his officers 
and courtiers in the same City, and more especially such 
an officer as the Mayor of London is, seeing that he is 
the immediate representative of our Lord the King within 
the City, which is the most excellent and most noble City 
in the realm." 

He admitted that he had uttered all this wickedness, 
and the court adjourned to deliberate on his case until the 
following Friday, when, on his being brought up, it was 
adjudged "according to the custom of the City in like 
cases provided, that, for the trespass and contempt so com- 
mitted as aforesaid, as well against the said John Eote, as 


the City, by reason of his office, 'he being one of the judges 
and governors thereof ; and, after the Mayor, of the highest 
rank in the same, the right hand of the same William, with 
which he first drew the dagger, and afterwards, threatening 
his malice, drew his sword upon the said Alderman, in- 
tending to slay him therewith, should be cut off, unless 
he should meet with an increase of favour from the said 
John Eote. 

" And upon this, an axe was brought into Court by an 
officer of the Sheriffs, and the hand of the said William 
was laid upon the block, there to be cut off. Whereupon 
the said John Eote, in reverence for our Lord the King, and 
at the request of divers Lords who entreated for the said 
William, begged of the Mayor and Aldei'men that execution 
. of the judgment aforesaid might be remitted unto him. 
At whose entreaty, execution thereof was accordingly re- 

But the offence could not pass unpunished, and for 
striking the constable in the exercise of his office he was 
to be imprisoned for a year and a day, " unless he should 
meet with an increase of favour from the said Mayop and 
Aldermen." For the false words uttered against the mayor, 
he was to stand in the pillory with a whetstone round his 
neck; besides which, on leaving prison, "he should carry 
from the Guildhall aforesaid, through Chepe and Fletestrete, 
a lighted wax candle, weighing three pounds, to the church 
of St. Dunstan, before mentioned, and there make offering 
of the same. And in like manner, on his leaving prison, 
he was to find sufficient surety for his good behaviour." 
He only suffered a very few days' imprisonment. 


A false Ale Conner— Newgate a Royal Prison— Given to the Citizens— Rules 
for the Officers— Prisoners removed from Ludgate and returned— Pest 
in Newgate— Whittington rebuilds Newgate— Royal Licence for same- 
Newgate in Fourteenth Century— Evil May Day. 

Ale conners, whose duty is to taste and test the beer sold 
in the city of London, are still elected, but in these old 
letter-books we find a fraudulent and unlicensed analyst. 
On the 11th April 1394, "Walter Fraunceys, vadlet,^ taker 
of ale for our Lord the King, came here before the Mayor 
and Aldermen, and alleged that one, John Haselwode, who 
calls himself John Hareliullc, of the March of Wales, now 
in the prison of ISTeugate, pretending that he was a taker 
of ale for our Lord the King, went at various times in the 
said City, bearing a white staff in his hand, to divers breweries 
there, one of which was the house of Simon Noke, in the 
parish of St. Mary Colchirche, and said it was his intention 
to seize their ale for our Lord the King. Whereupon, the 
wife of the said Simon, as well as some other brewers in 
the said city, whose ale, as before stated, he had laid hands 
upon, in order to obtain a release thereof, gave to the said 
John, the wife namely of Simon aforesaid, four pence, and 
the others, various sums of money. 

" And the same John, being questioned thereupon before 
the Mayor and Aldermen, acknowledged that he had made 
such seizures of ale, as before stated, and also that he had 
received twelve pence from the said brewers: the which 
seizures so made by him, in manner aforesaid, without any 
warranty or authority for so doing, were manifestly to the 
disgrace and scandal of the officers of our Lord the King. 
And it was therefore adjudged that, according to the custom 

' A superior servant. 


of the City in such cases followed, that he should be put upon 
the pillory on CornhuUe, there to remain for one hour of 
the day, the white wand being held there at his side. And 
precept was given to the Sheriffs, to have the reason for such 
punishment publicly proclaimed." 

At this time Newgate was a royal prison, as we see by 
the following instance. " Eichard, by the grace of God, &c., 
to the Mayor and Sheriffs of London, greeting. We, desiring 
for certain reasons to be certified as to the cause for the 
taking and detention by you of John Sewale, of Iseldone, 
cartere, in our Gaol of Neugate, as it is said, do command 
you, that you, the aforesaid Mayor, do certify us thereupon 
in our Chancery, distinctly and openly, under your Seal, 
without delay. Witness myself, at Westminster, the 28th 
day of April, in the 21st year of our reign." 

Answer of Eichard Whityngtone, mayor, and John 
Wodecok and William Askham, sheriffs, of London. 

" Before the coming of the writ of our Lord the King unto 
this paper annexed, John Sewale, in the said writ named, 
was taken and committed to the Prison of our Lord the King 
at Neugate, on the appeal [or accusation] of Eichard Haw- 
tyn, of Gloucester, as is set forth in the following words : — 
On Thursday next, after the Feast of our Lord's Nativity, in 
the 21st year of the reign of King Eichard the second, 
Eichard Hawtyn, of Gloucester, came to Neugate, in 
London, before Eichard Whetyngtone, Mayor of the City of 
London, John Cokayn, Eecorder of the same City, William 
Askham and John Wodecok, Sheriffs of the said City, and 
John Michel, Coroner in the City aforesaid, and appealed 
John Sewale, cartere, of Iseldone, because that he, the 
aforesaid John Sewale, on the 15th day of the month of 
September, in the 21st year of the reign of King Eichard 
the second, in the church of St. Martin le Grand, in London, 
did say to Eichard Hawtyn aforesaid, that there had been 
no peace, or love in England since the present King of 
England became King ; and, in like manner, did further say 
that he is not the rightful King. And of the words afore- 
said, the said Eichard Hawtyn appealed the same John 
Sewale before the Mayor, Eecorder, Sheriffs and Coroner. 
And also, John Sewale was detained in the prison aforesaid 


for 40 marks, which John Neel, gardeners, recovered against 
him before Adam Bame, late Mayor of the City of London, 
in a certain plea of trespass. And these are the reasons for 
the taking and detention of the said John Sewale in the 
prison aforesaid." 

But when Henry iv. ascended the throne he found it 
prudent to conciliate the citizens of his capital, and on 25 th 
May 1400 he granted them a charter which materially 
augmented their privileges, and contained the following 
clause : — 

"And, moreover, of our ample grace, we have granted 
for us and our heirs, as much as in us is, to the same 
citizens, their heirs and successors, as aforesaid, that they 
shall have the Custody, as well of the gates of Newgate 
and Ludgate, as all other gates and posterns of the same 

And the way in which the citizens felt their respon- 
sibility is shown in the Ziber Alhus. 

" Item, the said Sheriffs shall not let the Gaol of Newgate 
to ferm, but shall put there a man, sufficient and of good 
repute, to keep the said gaol in due manner, without taking 
anything of him for such Keeping thereof, by covenant made 
in private, or openly. And the Gaoler, who by the said 
Sheriffs shall be deputed thereunto, shall make oath before 
the Mayor and Aldermen that neither he, nor any other for 
him, shall take fine, or extortionate charge, from any prisoner 
for putting on, or taking off his irons, or shall receive 
monies extorted from any prisoner. But it shall be fully 
lawful for the said gaoler to take from each person, when 
set at liberty, four pence for his fee, as from ancient times 
has been the usage ; but he shall take from no person at his 
entrance there, nor shall he issue [execution] suddenly, by 
command of the Mayor and Aldermen, without other process. 
And, if he shall be found to commit extortion upon anyone, 
he shall be ousted from his office, and be punished at the 
discretion of the Mayor and Aldermen and Common Council 
of the City." 

It will be seen from the foregoing extracts from the 
city's letter-books that the crimes recorded were not the 
common ones of stealing, etc.; there are two cases of 


burglary, one in 1382, the other in 1406, and in both 
cases the prisoners found guilty pleaded " Benefit of Clergy," 
and they were committed to Newgate. 

It was ordained that on the 5th of June 1419 the 
" prison of Ludgate shall be abolished and disqualified as a 
prison, and that all the prisoners therein shall be removed 
and safely carried to Neugate, there to remain, each in 
such keeping as his own deserts shall demand, according as, 
and for the time which, the law of the land shall give him." 
But owing to the unheal thiness of Newgate, it was re-estab- 
lished as a debtors' prison the very same year. 

" Whereas through the abolition and doing away with 
the Prison of Ludgate, which was formerly ordained for the 
good and comfort of citizens and other reputable persons, 
and also, by reason of the fetid and cdrrupt atmosphere 
that is in the heynouse^ gaol of Neugate, many persons 
who lately were in the said Prison of Ludgate, and who, 
in the time of "William Sevenoke, late Mayor, for divers 
great offences which they had there compassed, were 
committed to the said gaol [of Neugate], are now dead, 
who might have been living, it is said, if they had remained 
in Ludgate, abiding in peace there : — and seeing that every 
person is sovereignly bound to support, and be tender of, 
the lives of men, the which God has bought so dearly with 
His precious blood: — therefore, Eichard Whityngton, now 
Mayor, and the Aldermen, on Saturday, the 2nd day of 
November, have ordained and established that the said 
Gate of Ludgate shall be a prison from henceforth, to keep 
therein all citizens and other reputable persons, whom the 
Mayor, Aldermen, Sheriff, or Chamberlain of the City, shall 
think proper to commit and send to the same same. 
Provided always that no one shall be Warder of the said 
prison, unless he be a man good and loyal, and one who 
has found sufficient sureties yearly to the Sheriffs of 
London that he will well and lawfully keep the Sheriffs 
and the City harmless in all things which pertain unto 
the safe keeping of the Prisoners and Prison aforesaid." 
It is said that sixty-four prisoners and the keepers of the 

1 Holinshed describes it as "a most ouglie and lothsome prison." 


gaol died in 1414 in Newgate ; at least Stow so records it, 
but there is great laxity in the matter of dates. 

Thus Sir Eichard Whittington's death is variously given 
as 1422, 1425, or 1442. As a matter of fact he seems to 
have died in 1423, for his will was proved on the 8th of 
March of that year. At all events, he saw the evils of 
the "heynouse gaol of Newgate," and, out of the large- 
ness of his heart, left funds providing for its rebuilding. 
Application was made by his executors to King Henry vi. 
for leave to comply with the provisions of his will, and 
the following is a translation of the royal licence giving it 
effect : — 

"The King, to all to whom it may concern. Greeting. 
Know ye, that with the advice and consent of our Council, 
we have granted and do give licence, for us and our heirs, 
as much as in us lies, to our beloved John Coventre, John 
Carpenter, John White and William Grove, executors of 
the testament of Eichard Whityngton, late citizen and 
mercer of our City of London, deceased, that they, in ful- 
filment of the last will of the aforesaid Eichard, may cause 
our gaol of Neugate in our City aforesaid, together with the 
gate of the said gaol, to be pulled down, and another 
sufficient gaol there, with the goods of the said Eichard, 
for the safe custody of the prisoners of us and of our heirs, 
to be rebuilt, without hindrance of us and of our heirs, 
our justices, officers, or ministers, or of any of our heirs 
whatsoever. We have granted also, and give licence, with 
the advice and assent aforesaid, for us and our said heirs, 
as much as in us lies, to our beloved the Mayor and 
Commonalty of our City aforesaid, that they may remove 
all prisoners at present existing within the gaol aforesaid ; 
and, as well those as all other prisoners who, by authority 
of us, or of our said heirs shall henceforth be committed to 
their custody, in any other place sufficient and fitting, 
within the aforesaid City, until the aforesaid gaol of 
Neugate shall be rebuilt, shall cause to be placed and 
kept, without hindrance of us, or our said heirs, our 
justices, officers, our ministers, or of the same our ministers 
whatsoever. In witness whereof we have caused these our 
letters to be made patent. Witness myself at Westminster 


the twelfth day of May in the first year of our reigu" 
(1423). And this is the first gate of which we have any 

For about a hundred years there is a great lack of news 
about Newgate, and for this little we are indebted to Stow. 
" In the year 1326 Eobert Baldoke, the King's Chancellor, 
was put in Newgate, the 3rd of Edward iir. In the year 
1337 Sir John Poultney gave four marks by the year to the 
relief of prisoners in Newgate. In the year 1385, William 
Walworth gave somewhat to relieve the prisoners in 
Newgate, so have many others since. In the year 1418 
the parson of Wrotham in Kent was imprisoned in New- 
gate. Thomas Knowles, grocer, sometime mayor of London 
(1399 and 1410) by licence of Eeynold, prior of Saint 
Bartholomew's in Smithfield, and also of John Wakering, 
master of the Hospital of Saint Bartholomew, and his 
brethren, conveyed the waste of water at the cistern near 
to the common fountain and chapel of St. Nicholas (situate 
by the said Hospital) to the gaols of Newgate and Ludgate, 
for the relief of the prisoners. Tuesday next after Palm 
Sunday 1431, all the prisoners of Ludgate were removed 
into Newgate by Walter Chartesey, and Eobert Large, 
Sheriffs of London ; and on the 13th of April, the same 
sheriffs (through the false suggestion of John Kingesell, 
jailor of Newgate) set from thence eighteen persons, free 
men, and these were let to the compters, pinioned, as if 
they had been felons ; but, on the 16th of June, Ludgate was 
again appointed for freemen, prisoners for debt ; and the 
same day the said freemen entered by ordinance of the 
mayor, aldermen, and Commons, and, by them, Henry Deane, 
tailor, was made keeper of Ludgate Prison. In the year 
1457, a great fray was in the north country between Sir 
Thomas Percie, Lord Egremond, and the Earl of Salisbury's 
sons, whereby many were maimed and slain ; but, in the end, 
the Lord Egremond being taken, was, by the King's counsel 
found in great default, and therefore condemned in great 
sums of money, to be paid to the Earl of Salisbury ; and, in 
the meantime, committed to Newgate. Not long after. Sir 
Thomas Percie, Lord Egremond, and Sir Eichard Percie, his 
brother, being in Newgate, broke out of prison by night, 


and went to the King ; the other prisoners took the leads of 
the gate, and defended it a long while against the sheriffs 
and all their officers, insomuch that they were forced 
to call more aid of the citizens, whereby they lastly subdued 
them, and laid them in irons; and this may suffice for 

But he mentions it again when speaking of the pillory 
on Cornhill. "As in the year 1468, the 7th of 
Edward iv., divers persons being Common jurors, such as 
at assizes were forsworn for rewards, or favour of parties, 
were judged to ride from Newgate to the pillory in Cornhill, 
with mitres of paper on their heads, there to stand, and 
from thence again to Newgate; and this judgment was 
given by the Mayor of London. In the year 1509 the first 
of Henry viii.. Darby, Smith and Simson, ringleaders of 
false inquests in London, rode about the City with their 
faces to the horse tails, and papers on their heads, and were 
set on the pillory on Cornhill, and, after, brought again to 
Newgate, where they died for very shame, saith Eobert 

In 1518 Newgate held its quota of the prisoners taken 
on Evil May Day, when " by the waie they were taken by 
the Maior and the heads of the Citie, and sent some of them 
to the Tower, some to Newgate, and some to the Counters, to 
the number of three hundred." It is a curious page of 
history how the ringleader was hanged — others respited at 
the gallows-foot ; how the king's wife and sister interceded 
for the prisoners; how the king went in state to West- 
minster to judge them. " Then the King commanded that 
all the prisoners should bee brought foorth, so that in came 
the poore yoonglings and old false knaves, bound in ropes 
all along, one after another in their shirts, and everie one a 
halter about his necke, to the number of foure hundred men 
and eleven women. And when all were come before the 
King's presence, the cardinall sorelie laid to the maior and 
communaltie their negligence, and to the prisoners, he 
declared that they had deserved death for their offense. 
Then all the prisoners togither cried, 'Mercie, gracious 
Lord, Mercie.' Herewith the lords altogither besought 
his grace of mercie, at whose sute the King pardoned 


them all. Then the cardinall gave unto them a good 
exhortation, to the great gladnesse of the hearers. Now, 
when the generall pardon was pronounced, all the prisoners 
showted at once, and all togither cast up their halters 
into the hall roofe. . . . Then were all the gallowes 
within the Citie taken downe, and manie a good praier 
said for the King, and the citizens tooke more heed to their 


Prisoners for Faith's sake— John Rogers— Robert Smith— John Philpot— 
Petitions from Prisoners— Abuses in Newgate — Plot to Kidnap the 
Queen of Scots- Roman Catholic Priests and others in Newgate— Non- 
conformists also — Essex's Rebellion. 

Then comes a long sad list of prisoners in ISTewgate who 
died for their faith, extending from the time of Henry viii., 
when monks and Nonconformists suffered for their religion ; 
but I shall only notice two, beginning with the Reverend 
John Eogers, vicar of St. Sepulchre's and Eeader at St. 
Paul's Cathedral, who was burnt in Smithfield, 1555. Fox 
says : " Now, when the time came, that he, being delivered 
to the Sheriffs, should be brought out of Neivgate to Smith- 
field, the place of his execution, first came to him Mr. 
Woodroqfe, one of the aforesaid Sheriffs, and calling 3£r. 
Eogers unto him, asked him if he would revoke his abomin- 
able doctrine, and his evil opinion of the Sacrament of the 
Altar. Mr. Sogers answered and said, that which I have 
preached I will seal with my blood. Then, said Mr. Wood- 
roofe, thou art an heretick. That shall be known, quoth 
Rogers, at the day of judgement. Well, quoth Mr. Woodroofe, 
I will never pray for thee. But I will pray for you, quoth 
Mr. Rogers ; and so was brought the same day, which was 
Monday, the fourth of February, by the Sheriffs towards 
Smithfield, sajiug the psalm Miserere by the way, all the people 
wonderfully rejoicing at his constancy, with great praises 
and thanks to God for the same : and there in presence of 
Mr. Boehester, Comptroller of the Queen's household. Sir 
Richard Southivell, both the Sheriffs, and a wonderful 
number of people, he was burned into ashes. A little before 
his burning at the stake, his pardon was brought, if he 
would have recanted, but he utterly refused it. He was the 


first (sic) protomartyr of all the blessed company that 
suffered in Queen Mary's time, that gave the first adventure 
upon the fire. His wife and children, being eleven in 
number, ten able to go, and one sucking on her breast, met 
him by the way as he went towards Smithfidd : This 
sorrowful sight of his own ilesh and blood could nothing move 
him, but that he constantly and chearfully took his death 
with wonderful patience, in the defence and quarrel of 
Christ's Gospel." 

" A Picture describing the manner and place of them which were in bonds 
for the Testimony of the truth, confering among themselves." 

The other case is that of Eobert Smith, who suffered the 

same year. 

" Thus hast thou (good Eeader) not only to note but also 
to follow in this man, a singular example of Christian 
fortitude, which so manfully and valiantly did stand in the 
defence of his Master's cause. And as thou seest him here 
boldly stand in examination before the Bishop and Doctor ; 
so was he no less comfortable also in the prison among his 


fellows. Which also is to be observed no less in his other 
prison fellows, who being there together cast in an outward 
house within Newgate, had godly conference with themselves, 
with daily praying and publick reading, which they to their 
great comfort used in that house together ; amongst whom 
this foresaid Smith was chief doer. Whose industry was 
always solicitous, not only for them of his own company, 
but also his diligence was careful for other prisoners, 
whom he ceased not to dehort and disswade from their old 
accustomed iniquity ; and many he cpnverted unto his 

We learn also from Fox how these prisoners for faith's 
sake were treated in the case of the Eev. John Philpot, 
archdeacon of Winchester, a learned and travelled man 
(burnt 18th December 1555). "And so the officers thrust 
him away, and took him to Newgate ; and as he went, he 
said to the people, Ah! good people, blessed be God for 
this day ; and so the officers delivered him to the keeper. 
Then his man pushed to go in after his master, and one of 
the officers said unto him. Honest fellow, what would'st thou 
have ? And he said, I would go speak with my master. Mr. 
Philpot then turned him about, and said to hijji. To-morrow 
thou shalt speak with me. 

" Then the under keeper said to Mr. Philpot, Is this your 
man ? And he said Yes. So he gave his man leave to go in 
with him. And Mr. Philpot and his man were turned into a 
little chamber on the right hand, and there remained a 
short time, until Alexander the chief keeper, came unto him ; 
who, at his entering, greeted him with these words, Ah, 
said he, hast thou not done well to bring thyself hither ? 
Well, said Mr. Philpot, I must be content, for it is God's 
appointment ; and 1 shall desire you to let me have your 
gentle favour, for you and I have been of old acquaintance. 
Well, said Alexander, I will shew thee gentleness and 
favour, so that thou wilt be ruled by me. Then said Mr. 
Philpot, I pray you shew me what you would have me to do. 
" He said. If you will recant, I will shew you any pleasure 
I can. Nay, said Mr. Philpot, I will never recant that 
which I have spoken, whilst I have my life, for it is most 
certain truth, and in witness hereof, I will seal it with my 


blood. Then Alexander said, this is the saying of the whole 
pack of you hereticks. Whereupon he commanded him to 
be set upon the block, and as many irons upon his legs as 
he could bear, because he would not follow his wicked mind. 
"Then the clerk told Alexander in his ear, that Mr. Philpot 
had given his man money. And Alexander said to his man, 
What money hath thy master given thee ? He answered, 
My master hath given me none. No, said Alexander, hath 
he given thee none ? That will I know, for I will search 
thee. Do with me as you like, and search me all you can, 
quoth his servant ; he hath given me a token or two to send 
to his friends, to his brothers and sisters. Ah, said Alex- 
ander unto Mr. Philpot, thou art a maintainer of hereticks, 
thy man should have gone to some of thine affinity, but he 
shall be known well enough. Nay, said Mr. Philpot, I do 
send it to my friends ; there he is, let him make answer to 
it. But, good Mr. Alexander, be so much my friend, that 
these irons may be taken off. Well, said Alexander, give 
me my fees, and I will take them off. Then said Mr. 
Philpot, Sir, what is your fee ? He said, four pound was 
his fees. Ah, said Mr. Philpot, I have not so much : I am 
but a poor man, and I have been long in prison. What 
will thou give me, then ? said Alexander. Sir, said he, I 
will give thee twenty shillings, and that I will send my 
man for, or else I will give you my gown in pledge ; for the 
time is not long, I am sure, that I shall be with you, for the 
bishop said unto me that I should be soon dispatched. Then 
Alexander said unto him. What is that to me ? And with 
that he departed from him, and commanded him to be had 
into limbo ; and so his command was fulfilled ; but, before 
he could be taken from the block, the clerk would have 
a groat. 

"Then came Witterence, steward of the house, took him on 
his back, and carried him down, his man knew not whither. 
Wherefore Mr. Philpot said to his man. Go to Mr. Sheriff, 
and shew him how I am used, and desire Mr. Sheriff to be 
good unto me ; so his servant went straightway, and took an 
honest man with him. And when they came to Mr. Sheriff 
(which was Mr Macham) and shewed him how Mr Philpot 
was handled in Newgate, the Sheriff hearing this, took his 


ring from off his finger, and delivered it to that honest man 
that came with Mr. Philpot's man, and bade him go unto 
Alexander, the keeper, and commanded him to take off his 
irons, and to handle him more gently, and to give his man 
again that which he had taken from him. And when they 
came again to the said Alexander, and delivered their 
message from the Sheriff, Alexander took the ring and said, 
Ah ! 1 perceive that Mr. Sheriff is a bearer with him, and all 
such hereticks as he is ; therefore, tomorrow I will shew it 
to his betters : yet, at ten o'clock, he went into Mr. Philpot, 
where he lay, and took off his irons, and gave him such 
things as he had taken before from his servant." 

Hohnshed gives us two items of news about Newgate in 
the year 1556. " The eight and twentith dale of the afore- 
said moneth of March, by the negligence of the keeper's 
maid of the gaite of Newgate in London, who had left a 
candle where a great deale of straw was, the same was set 
on fire, and burnt all the timber worke on the north side of 
the same gate." "The sixteenth of December, Gregorie 
Carpenter, smith, and a Frenchman borne, was arreigned for 
making counterfeit keies, wherewith to have opened the 
locks of Newgate, to have slaine the keeper, and let foorth 
the prisoners. At which time of his arreignement, having 
conveied a knife into his sleeve, he thrust it into the side 
of William Whitrents, his fellow prisoner, who had given 
witnesse against him, so that he was in great peril of death 
thereby. For the which fact he was immediatlie taken from 
the barre into the street before the justice hall, where, his 
hand being first stricken off, he was hanged on a gibbet set 
up for that purpose. The Keeper of Newgate was arreigned 
and indited, for that the said prisoner had a weapon about 
him, and his hands loose, which should have beene bound." 

The materials fit for this history are, at this period, very 
limited; and are mainly to be found in the State Papers' 
(Domestic Series), the calendaring of which commences in 
1547. On 27th May 1563 is a "list of as many prisoners 
as be in Newgate fit to be pardoned, and that be able to 
serve," which shows us that the penalties inflicted by law 
were evidently considered excessive, or there would be no 
necessity for pardon, and that persons convicted of minor 


offences might compound by serving the State either in the 
army or navy. In 1580 we find an undated petition from 
Eichard Casye to Lord Burghley, showing that he had been 
committed to Newgate upon the unjust complaint of Mr 
Benedict Spinola relative to a lease of certain lands and 
tenements in London. He desires to be discharged from 
prison, and to have the Queen's pardon. By this we see 
that committal to Newgate might be obtained for very 
trivial offences, and that the poor debtor was remembered 
and assisted, we see by a commission issued in February 
1581 to the Lord Mayor, Eecorder and Sheriffs of London, 
and many others, upwards of sixty in number, to compound 
with the creditors of poor debtors, prisoners in Newgate and 
Ludgate, and the two compters in the city of London. 
We also get a glimpse of the religious persecutions under 
Elizabeth, an edifying account of which, and an antidote to 
Fox's Booh of Martyrs, may be found in Eichard Challoner's 
Memoirs of Missionary Priests and other Catholics that have 
suffered death in England on Religious Accounts from the 
year 1577 to 1684: for in November 1581 there is a certifi- 
cate by W. Dyos, keeper of Newgate, of the names of the 
recusants in Newgate, in London, viz. Eoger "Wakeman, 
Lawrence Eichardson, Eichard Lewes, Faith Arnold, 
Eobert Lewes, and William Druet, the two last being of 
" ye precise sort." And again, 22nd March 1583, there is a 
certificate of the prisoners in Newgate for matters of religion. 
Also in April of the same year there is the substance of the 
examination of John (or Anthony) Thorpe, the jailer of 
the White Lion, Southwark, and of others, relative to the 
removal of one Nyx from Newgate to the White Lion, and 
his escape, by the procurement of Mr. George Gifford and 
his man Thomas Porter. 

We see also the abuses going on in the jail by an infor- 
mation in 1583 of the disorders practised by the officers of 
Newgate prison, in the levying of fines and taking bribes by 
old and young Growder, the jailers. " Crowder and his wife 
be most horrible blasphemers and swearers." In April 1584, 
we have the petition of John Gardener, one of the porters 
of the poultry compter, to Lord Burghley. That he had 
been committed to Newgate for the escape of an Irishman 


named James Forrell, a prisoner in the compter. Acknow- 
ledges his fault and negligence, and solicits to be pardoned. 

Newgate seems to have been a prison for every offence, even 
such as we should naturally think should be sent to the 
Tower ; as, for instance, there is a letter from the Court at 
Greenwich, dated 2nd July 1585, from Sir Francis Walsing- 
ham to Sergeant Fletewoode, the recorder of London, with 
directions to examine one John Herle, of Stanton Harcourt, 
Co. Oxon., a prisoner in Newgate, charged, with Godfrey 
Foljambe and Tunstall or Tunsted, with a design for con- 
veying away the Queen of Scots when she was in the Earl 
of Shrewsbury's custody. 

But this was as nothing compared with a document of 
11th January 1587. "The true foundation and manner of 
the horrible treason," or William Stafford's account of his 
dealings with Mons. Bellievre, the French ambassador, 
Des Trappes, his secretary, and one Michael Modye, in 
a conspiracy to kill Queen Elizabeth. Conferences between 
Stafford and the ambassador, Des Trappes introduced by 
Stafford to Modye in Newgate. Discussion whether to 
kill the queen by poison, or by laying a train of gun- 
powder where she lieth. Discovery of the whole plot by 
Stafford to Walsingham. We also have " Micaell Modye, 
his confession in the afternone the 9 Jan. 1586 " (O. S.). 
Touching his conferences with Des Trappes and the French 
ambassador for taking away the life of Queen ELLzabeth, 
either by gunpowder, or by poisoning her stirrup, or her 
shoe, " or some other Itahan device." 

To be a Eoman Catholic and a priest were, in Elizabeth's 
time, full qualifications for a residence in Newgate. On 
20th April 1586, we find the examination of Eobert Kowley, 
priest, taken upon the seas by Captain Burrows, going to 
Scotland, and committed, first to the Marshalsea, and 
thence to Newgate. On 27th April 1587, Sir Eoger Man- 
wood, Lord Chief Baron, writes to Walsingham that the 
Eomish priest, William Chadock, states that his fellow 
stayed at Sittingbourne (calling himself Campion) is, beyond 
sea, called Edwards. Has sent Chadock up to be further 
examined and tried at Newgate. Eichard Young also 



writes to Walsingham on 26th August 1587, that he has 
talked with sundry priests remaining in the prisons about 
London. Some are very evil affected, and unworthy to 
live in England. Simpson, alias Hyegate, and Flower, 
priests, have justly deserved death, and in nowise merit 
Her Majesty's mercy. William Wigges, Leonard Hide, and 
George Collinson, priests in Newgate, are dangerous fellows, 
as are also Morris Williams and Thomas Pounde, the latter 
committed as a layman, but, in reality a professed Jesuit. 
Francis Tirrell is an obstinate papist, and is doubted to 
be a spy. 

On 25th TSTovember 1589, we read of the examination 
of Eobert Bellamy. The manner of his escape from New- 
gate, thence to Scotland, and then over to Hamburgh ; his 
arrest in the Palsgrave's country and conveyance to Heidel- 
burg to Duke Casimir. Everybody was anxious to get out 
of this horrible and loathsome prison, and there is a petition 
undated in 1589 from the poor prisoners in Newgate to 
the Lord High Admiral that the sentence, " If they be by 
law bailable," may be struck out of his letter to the recorder 
of London for their release, and then they would gladly 
enter Her Majesty's service. 

The Eoman Catholics in Newgate were not forgotten by 
their co-religionists, as we may see by a letter, dated Eheims, 
10th March 1591, from Cardinal John Allen, rector of the 
English college at Eheims, to Mr. White, seminary priest 
in the Clink, and the rest of the priests in Newgate, the 
Fleet, and Marshalsea. Pope Sixtus sends them his bene- 
diction, and will send over for their comfort Dr. Eeynoldes, 
chief Jesuit of the college at Eheims, who must be carefully 
concealed ; also Dr. Walford, who will stay at Oxford with 
Mr. Napper, a zealous Catholic, and Gerat Ballamy, lately 
made priest, who will be best with his cousins in London ; 
their discovery would be a great joy to all heretics. They 
will bring some consecrated crucifixes, lately hallowed by 
His Holiness, and some books to be given to the chiefest 
Catholics, their greatest benefactors. How the Eoman 
Catholics were hunted is shown in a letter of 16th March 
1594, to Sir Eobert Cecil. The writer had made search 


according to his directions, and, in a house newly built 
in Golden Lane, found four suspicious persons, who were 
very loth to permit them to come in, and sought all means 
to escape. The man who opened the door said his name 
was Wallis, and that he was a tailor; found his brother 
hidden under the stairs, and two others in a bed upstairs, 
with their clothes on, who said their names were Fulwood, 
and that they were also brothers, and had been serving 
men ; but, upon being questioned they all seemed to vary, 
and not one could tell an even tale. One of the-Wallises 
said he loved a mass, and had heard mass as well in Queen 
Mary's as in Her Majesty's time; and upon being asked 
whether he was a seminary or Jesuit, replied, " Oh, Lord ! 
no, I am not learned, and would to God I were worthy 
to carry their shoes," etc. He also said he was glad they 
had made search, as he should now suffer some persecution 
for his religion. They all appeared masterless men, although 
one of the Wallises said he was servant to the master of 
the house; but he did not know his master, who was in 
the country. There was a great store of new apparel which 
Wallis said he had made, but knew not the owners ; found 
some letters which may discover much, as also some beads 
of stone or amber, and some paper pictures. Have com- 
mitted them to four several prisons, the two Fulwoods in 
the Counter, and the Wallises in Newgate and Einsbury 

Nonconformists were also sent to Newgate, and about 
the death of one who died there is some slight mystery. 
1st March 1593. Examination of Chris. Bowman, gold- 
smith, before Eichard Young. Was not at Newgate when 
Eoger Eippin died. The whole congregation consented to 
the making of his coffin, for which they paid 4s. 8d. Was 
told of a further purpose, but disliked it. Cannot disclose 
who the congregation are, nor their secrets, nor their place 
of meeting. Never consented to the writing fixed upon the 
coffin, and does not allow of it, if any such was done. Does 
not think that their secret conventicles are contrary to 
God's law, or the laws of the realm. Cannot take an oath 
to answer to such" light causes. Does not remember having 


seen Mr. Penryn within four days, but has seen him within 
these five days. Was lately out of town, but declines to 
say where he went ; is not obliged to set down where he 
has been, unless he were a man of bad hf e. Is not persuaded 
to go to his parish church, nor to Paul's Cross, to hear a 
sermon, seeing that any man, however wicked he may be, is 
admitted to receive the communion ; will not join in prayer 
with that minister who gives holy things to dogs ; refuses 
to sign this examination. 

There is also, on 26th May 1599, a letter to the sheriffs 
of London to release Thomas Nelme, a condemned Brownist, 
in Newgate, and deliver him to John Kirkham, merchant, 
who has undertaken to transport him beyond seas, to be 
banished. This Kirkham also got an order for two more 
convicts from the sheriff of Northampton. 

We should hardly credit Newgate with being a place for 
love-making and marriage, but in the examination of one 
John Harrison, on 3rd March 1596, he said he was married 
to his wife in Newgate by an old priest, then in prison with 
his wife and himself. 

It was part of the plan of Essex's futile attempt at 
rebellion, in 1601, to take possession of Newgate and 
Ludgate, as is evidenced in the confession of John Bargar, 
13th February 1601. "The Earl asked Sheriff Smythe, if 
he should go with the Mayor to his house, whether he could 
place a great guard upon him of his own servants; he 
replied, Alas, my Lord, I have not above two or three 
apprentices in my house. Oh ! said my Lord, then I 
must not go -thither; but, Mr. Sheriff, where are these 
arms ? He answered, I know not ; I left the armourers 
with your Lordship. Upon this, my Lord said, I fear much 
the other side of the City, towards Ludgate and Newgate, 
lest I should be betrayed behind. Then the Sheriff desired 
my Lord to suffer himself to be examined and trust in Her 
Majesty's mercy. He answered that he would have no 
hearing on trial but what the Secretary, or Sir Walter Raleigh 
would appoint him, and he was sure to go to the Tower ; and 
he knew that then, they that had practised his death before, 
would do with him what they listed. Well, said the 


Sheriff, do you go down towards Ludgate and Newgate, and 
possess yourself of a passage through them, and I will see 
your arms sent thither to you, which my Lord said he 
would do, and so went down Lombard Street." Essex's 
forebodings proved true, and he was executed in the Tower 
in February 1601. 


Spanish Ambassador and Roman Catholic Priests — Escape of Priests — Bad 
State of Newgate — Floyd's Case — Newgate overcrowded — Prisoners sent 
to do the King service — Curious Petition — Imprisoned for a trifle — 
Newgate unsafe — Divers Petitions — Lax Guardianship — A Fanatical 
Prisoner — The Case of Stephen Smith. 

There is nothing of note about Newgate for ten years, when 
attention is called to the Eoman Catholic priests confined 
there, — how " the King disapproves of the Spanish lady's 
supping with the two priests before their execution." On 
18th February 1611 we have the examinations of Simon 
Houghton, keeper of Newgate, Abraham Eeynolds, Margery 
White, and Christiana Damme, relative to the visits and 
presents of the Spanish ambassador and Spanish ladies to 
the prisoners in Newgate, especially to Eoberts, the priest. 
On 22nd February Sir Thos. Lake writes to Lord Salisbury : 
"The Spanish ambassador is to be expostulated with, for 
his priest's visiting popish prisoners " ; and again, on 24th 
February, that the king would have the Spanish ambassador's 
house watched to see who goes to mass, but not openly, so 
as to attract his notice; and yet all the time James i. was 
coquetting with the ambassador as to Prince Charles's 
marriage with the Infanta. 

On 26th November 1612, we find that seven seminary 
priests have escaped from Newgate; and in April 1615 are 
given the names of priests, recusants, etc., confined in New- 
gate and the Clink prisons, a list of popish priests im- 
prisoned in Newgate and the^atehouse at Easter 1615, with 
brief notes of the character, age, and temper of most of the 
above priests. This is indorsed, " Note of the Priests which 
are most turbulent at Newgate." A letter from London of 
29 th June 1615 mentions that the prisoners at Newgate 
rose against their keepers, and tried to set the prison on fire. 


On 5fch April 1617 we have the deposition of Art. Saul, 
prisoner in Newgate. He seems to have been a spy, for he 
sets forth how he had been employed by Secretary Winwood 
and the Archbishop of Canterbury to report what English 
were at Douay College. He gives particulars of priests who 
have returned to England, of their meeting-places, and con- 
veyance of letters. One of them aided four recusants to 
escape from Newgate. 

But petty rogues were also confined in that jail, for on 
19th July 1618 there is a petition from Bridget Gray to 
the Council, that her grandson, John Throckmorton, prisoner 
in Newgate for felony, may be discharged, it being his first 
offence, and Sir Thomas Smythe being ready to convey him 
beyond seas. With order thereon, that, on certificate by 
the Lord Mayor and recorder, that John Throckmorton 
was not convicted for murder, burglary, highway robbery, 
rape, or witchcraft, a warrant might be made for his banish- 
ment. Also certificate of the mayor and recorder, that his 
crime was aiding in stealing a hat, worth six shillings, for 
which his accomplice, Eobert Whisson, an old thief, was 
hanged. They evidently were glad to clear the gaol of petty 
offenders, for in 1619 there is a certificate by Sir William 
Cockayne, Mayor of London, and others, to the king, that 
certain prisoners in Newgate, whose names and offences are 
given, are not committed for murder, and are reprieved, 
as being able-bodied, and fit to do service in foreign 

Newgate was not a pleasant place of abode, especially 
for gentlemen, and on 14th July 1620 we have a petition 
from the prisoners in the King's Bench, lately removed to 
Newgate, to Lord Chief Justice Montague. Being men of 
quahty, and their credit much impaired by this removal, 
they pray for leave to answer in person before the Court of 
King's Bench. Sir Henry Montague replied that their com- 
mittal was by order of the Council, to whom they must 
appeal. This they did, designating Newgate as " a place of 
infamy and great distress." 

What it was like about this time we see in a humor- 
ously gruesome little 16mo book by Donald Lupton, pub- 
lished in 1622. " Newgate.— It may well answers to the 


name, and thanke the City for her care and charges. . . . 
Newgate is, generally, a place of safety, and few comes 
hither but by merit : the captives are men that once would 
not, now must live within compasse : they should be men of 
worth, for the Keeper will not, dare not lose one of them. 
When they are forsaken everywhere, then this place takes 
them in, for feare their heeles should bee as quicke as their 
Hands had beene : Hee layes them in irons, that he may be 
the surer of them; they are, or may be supposed to be, 
sound men, for they seldom break out : as long as they stay 
here they cannot be said to be unstayd fellowes, or Vagrants, 
for they are sure of a place of stay : they are quicke 
sighted, for they can see through iron grates : some of them 
seeme to be Eminent men, for they are highly advanced : 
they are like Fish, have a long time nibbled away the 
baite, but are now caught. Certainly they are no Libertines 
and are convicted of Free will : they are uncharitable, for 
they seldome love their Keeper; they have the power of 
life and death in their own hands, and put many to he 
prest to death. By seeking others goods, they procur'd 
their owne hurte. They lived without any thought of 
Judgement, now it is the onely thing they fear: They 
hold a Triangle to be a dangerous Figure. Of all places 
they hold Holborne Hill, an unfortunate place to ride up. 
It seemes they goe that way unwillingly, for they are 
drawne : They cannot misse their way to their Journey's 
end, they are so guarded and guided. Lice seem to bee 
their most constant companions, for they'le hang with them 
for company : If seemes these men were not made for 
Examples, for at their Confession they wish all men not 
to follow their courses ; and most are easily perswaded, for 
ther's very few dare do as they have done." 

All sorts and conditions of men were sent to Newgate. 
In May 1621 an obscure lawyer named Floyd was sentenced 
to the pillory by the House of Commons, " for saying that 
Lady Bess must come home to her father, and that the 
King of Bohemia had no right to his title ; but the Spanish 
Ambassador having spoken to the King, he stayed the 
sentence, sent for the House, told them they had exceeded ' 
their bounds in passing a censure without the Upper. 


House, and bade them attend to the dispatch of important 
business." Another account says: "There has been some 
justling in point of jurisdiction between the two houses; 
the Lower House having shewn extraordinary zeal in 
punishing one Floyd, who spoke lewd words of the King 
and Queen of Bohemia, the King and the House of Lords 
disapproved the punishment, as being out of the province 
of the Commons." It would have been far better for poor 
Floyd if the House of Commons had had their way, 
for the Lords fined him £5000, and sentenced him to be 
whipped to the pillory at Westminster and Cheapside ; to 
be branded on the face and imprisoned in ISTewgate. There, 
however, he did not stop long, for he was liberated in 

The prison occasionally got too crowded; and we see 
that they were obliged to release some for fear of the 
infection bred from overcrowding. On 20th E"ovember 1622, 
Francis Battersey, alias Bathurst, of Islington, and sixty-six 
others, convicted at Newgate, whose names and offences 
are detailed, and to Alice Whitwood, prisoner at Bristol, 
all reprieved on sundry considerations, were pardoned, their 
names having been presented by the late and present 
recorders of London, because of the danger of infection to 
such a multitude of persons, all in want, and yet they were 
reluctant to order them, having been long spared, to execu- 
tion, with proviso of their being employed on certain works 
or sent abroad. In January 1623, one prisoner in Newgate, 
William Dominick, condemned to death for stealing a purse 
with £4, was reprieved, it being his first offence, " and he 
an excellent drummer, and fit to do the King service." 
Again, on 19th July 1624, Mr. Eecorder Finch sends to 
Secretary Conway a list of thirty-one prisoners then in New- 
gate, but reprieved. Some have been long in jail, and were 
saved from execution by the prince's return. " They pester 
the gaol this hot weather, and would do better service as 
soldiers than if pardoned, for they would not dare to run 
away." This year and in 1625 there were several batches 
thus utilised. 

There is a curious petition (4th April 1626) from Sir 
Nicholas Poyntz to "the most high and mighty prince, 


George, Duke of Buckingham." Sir Nicholas, having killed 
a man in a street brawl, and being imprisoned in the King's 
Bench, paid £500 to Sir Edward Villiers, for the Duke's 
use, for a pardon. The pardon had not been obtained, and, 
under pretence of his having excited a mutiny in the King's 
Bench, Sir Nicholas had been committed to Newgate, to 
" a dungeon, without bed or light, aiid so inforced to lie in 
a coffin,'' He prayed either to be released from Newgate 
or be repaid his £500. Apparently he got no redress from 
" the most high and mighty prince," for very shortly after- 
wards he petitions the Council, that having by their war- 
rant been sent to the loathsome prison of Newgate, that he 
may have leave to sue a habeas corpus for his removal back 
again into the King's Bench. 

More religious persecution. On 16th February 1626 is 
a list of the names and residences of one hundred and sixty- 
one recusants indicted at the jail delivery of Newgate, 
amongst them are the Lady Willoughby, Viscount Montagu, 
and Frances, Lady Blackstone. On 13th May a warrant is 
issued to John Tendring, Provost Marshal of Middlesex, 
authorising him to search for popish books, massing stuff, 
and reliques of popery in Newgate. But then, perhaps, 
some were injudicious, to wit a Mr. Wyvell, who refused 
to take the oath of allegiance, and was therefore committed 
to Newgate. He said he thought the pope would not give 
order to excommunicate or depose the king ; but, if he did, 
he would by no means say he was not to obey him. But 
they could not all have been so disloyal, for we find in 
January 1627 that the queen made application to the 
king for the enlargement of ten prisoners in Newgate, 
confined for matters of religion. 

Men were sometimes sent to Newgate for a mere trifle, 
as may be seen in a petition from Inigo Jones and others 
to the Council, 28th May 1631, which shows that William 
Cooke, stationer, had built a shed of timber in the open 
street in High Holborn, adjoining to Furnival's Inn, and 
having been committed to Newgate till he should demolish 
the same, lies in prison, and the shed continues. Suggests 
order to the principal of Furnival's Inn, or the sheriff of 
London, to take it down. That a man should willingly 


stay in this prison is curious, for it was not a luxurious 
abode, vide the petition of Christopher Crowe, close prisoner 
in Newgate, to the Council (February 1632). He states 
that he has lain close prisoner in the dungeon, without 
light or fire, for these fourteen days, and but a halfpenny 
a day in bread allowed him, whereby he is likely to starve. 
For his evil reports against the Marquis of Hamilton he is 
most heartily sorry, and shall be taught thereby to rule his 
tongue. Prays for enlargement. On 9th March lie sends 
another petition to the effect that he is in great misery, 
having no friends nor means ; and, for six weeks, has had 
for his allowance but a halfpenny in bread one day, and a 
farthing's worth another. He was ordered to be discharged 
at once. 

There are many other petitions, one on 8th May 1630, 
from the keepers of the gaol of Newgate to the king, that, 
by reason of the great ruins of the gaol, it is now in hand 
to be repaired, and there is great danger lest, in time of 
repair, some of the prisoners should escape. They pray 
that directions may be given to the Lord Mayor and 
recorder to certify how many prisoners are capable of His 
Majesty's mercy, and to the attorney-general to prepare a 
pardon. Forty-four were pardoned. On 2nd December 
1630 five convicted prisoners in Newgate petitioned the 
king to the effect that they had been respited on the 
occasion of Prince Charles's birth, but are altogether 
impoverished, and not able to sue out pardons. They 
therefore pray that they may be transported into the state 
of Venice, under the command of Captain Lodovic Hamilton. 
Sometime in 1830, one Stephen Smith, a fishmonger, petitioned 
the Council, showing that having been committed to Newgate, 
he still remains there a prisoner. His house and shop have 
been shut up above eight weeks, in all which time no person 
has been sick. If any attempt has been made by his 
servants to open his house, it has been against his will. 
Prays for enlargement. Evidently this appeal met with no 
response, for he again petitions, and says that he has divers 
days been very heavily laden with such intolerable bolts 
and shackles, that he is lamed, and being a weak and aged 
man, is like to perish in the gaol, he having always lived in 



good reputation, and been a liberal benefactor where he has 
long dwelt. His house has been shut up for five months. 
Is heartily sorry if he, or his servants, have displeased the 
Council, and prays for order for his enlargement on security. 
It took very little to get into Newgate, judging from the 
petition of Eobert Walker and Christopher Eeddy, two of 
the officers of the poultry compter (some date in 1634), in 
which they say that on Tuesday night last was sennight, 
they very ignorantly and indiscreetly stayed the coach of 
the Earl of Lindsey, Lord Great Chamberlain, and thereby 
much offended him. For this offence they had been com- 
mitted to Newgate. 

This year one of the keepers was committed to the 
Fleet Prison for allowing a prisoner to escape. His name 
was Edward James, and on 23rd January 1635 he was 
examined by the attorney-general. He said he was clerk 
and deputy-keeper of Newgate, under John Laiton, who is 
keeper of that prison. Thomas Lunsford, the younger, was 
committed prisoner to Newgate by warrant from the Council, 
dated 16th August 1633. He explained minutely in what 
kind of custody Lunsford was at first kept, and how that 
custody was from time to time relaxed ; first, in order that 
he might prosecute his suit to a gentlewoman worth 
£10,000, and afterwards on account of the prosecutions 
against him in the Star Chamber. Ultimately, he was 
allowed to live out of prison, on his father's promise that 
he should render himself, but he had not done so since the 
15th October last. He also explained that Maurice Lewis, 
who was committed, as Thomas Lunsford the younger was, 
for an attempt upon Sir Thomas Pelham, and had the same 
liberty, had made a similar escape, and that Herbert 
Lunsford, uncle of Thomas Lunsford the younger, who 
had been committed to Newgate, 13th August 1633, had 
been permitted to leave the prison, because Eobert Carring- 
ton, one of the under keepers, affirmed to the examinant 
that the said Herbert was discharged by order front the 
attorney-general. But we see by the notes taken by 
Secretary Windebank at a meeting of the Council on 22nd 
April 1635 that he did not tell the whole truth. According 
to these notes, the defendant having in his custody Thomas 


Lunsford the younger, Herbert Lunsford, and Maurice 
Lewis, close prisoners committed from the Council Board 
for a practice to kill Sir Thomas I'elham on a Sunday, 
going to church, for a re\Yard of £14 received from Thomas 
Lunsford, suffered them to go abroad without warrant, and 
one of them to escape. The sentence suggested by Lord 
Cottington was a fine of £1000 to the king, imprisonment 
during pleasure, to be bound to good behaviour when he 
comes out, and acknowledgments. Secretary "Windebank 
added that he should be put from his place. The Earl 
Marshal suggested standing with a paper in Westminster 
Hall, and prosecution of the principal keeper. Archbishop 
Laud concluded with whipping, and that the chief keeper 
should be sent for to the Council Board. 

Here is a specimen of a fanatical prisoner : — 23rd Feb. 
1637. — The petition of Eichard Farnam, " a prophet of the 
most high God, a true subject of my King, and a prisoner of 
my Saviour Christ, in Newgate," to Archbishop Laud, and 
the rest of the High Commissioners, whom he prays to 
excuse his plainness, being no scholar. Desires to know 
the cause why he is detained so long in prison, where he 
has been kept a year next April, without coming to his 
answer. Thinks they have forgotten him. If he be a false 
prophet and a seducer, as most people report that he is, the 
High Commissioners would do well to bring him to trial. 
What he wrote before he came into prison, and what he has 
written since, he will stand to affirm they be truths taught 
him by the anointing of the Spirit. He reverences learning 
where the Spirit rules, but where that is wanting, learning 
is but foolishness. The Lord gives wisdom to the poor, 
base, and despised ones of the world, so that a poor man, or 
woman, that can read never a letter in the book, if the Lord 
have wrought the work of conversion in them, and endued 
them with His sanctifying Spirit, has more saving know- 
ledge than the greatest learned man if the work of regenera- 
tion be not wrought in him. He shows what a bishop 
should be, according to his ideas, and argues that if the 
archbishop were such a person, he would not keep the 
servants of God in prison so long without coming to answer. 
If he does not bring petitioner to his answer this summer, 


he intends to complain to the king, believing that it is not 
his pleasure that his subjects should suffer false imprison- 
ment to satisfy the archbishop's mind. He desires to be 
judged according to truth, and trusts the archbishop will 
not be offended with what he has written. He is certain 
he has not offended God, therefore the archbishop has no 
cause to be angry. 

Eeceiving no answer to the above, he sent another very 
similar one on 7th March, in which he states that he peti- 
tioned once before that he might come to his trial, but that 
the archbishop would not vouchsafe to read the petition 
which was delivered into his hand, after he understood who 
the petitioner was, but gave this answer to the party that 
presented it, that she might deliver it where she would, for 
he would neither meddle with the petition nor the petitioner. 
He remonstrates against a decision which he affirms to be 
neither true justice nor true religion, and argues that the 
archbishop had no sound religion in him. If he will not 
bring him to his trial, he solicits him to send his pursuivant 
and free him out of prison, and leave him in Long Lane, 
where he found him, near Whittington's Cat. At that time 
petitioner had a house to put his head in, now he has none, 
and his children are dispersed abroad: two of them the 
parish has taken, and the others a poor widow has taken 
into her house. His resolution is that whatever he has 
written he will stand to maintain it to be truth against all 
the learned men in the world. He intimates, as before, that 
if he cannot obtain his request, he intends to petition the 
king, and concludes with a prayer for the archbishop, if he 
belongs to God's election ; " for it is a sin to pray that the 
Lord should change His decree." 

Getting no reply, he sends another petition, this time to 
the Council, and that is the last heard of Iiim. 

Stephen Smith, the fishmonger (p. 44), is again heard 
of. On 3rd May 1637, Sir "William Slingsby wrote to the 
Council, that this day the doors of Stephen Smith, fish- 
monger, were, by the sufferance of the warder, broken open, 
and William Fenn, late servant to Smith, who had already 
been indicted for offences committed during the several 
infections of that house, entered thereinto, and brought to 


the door for sale a quantity of salted fish, without the 
privity of the officers, notwithstanding Susan Wheelyer, a 
maidservant of Smith's, was then shut up, and left infected 
with the plague at the time of Smith's unlawful abandoning 
his house. Fenn is now apprehended, and shut up with the 
late infected servant under better guard. I have committed 
the warder, and commanded the fish to be carried in again, 
and the doors to be locked and guarded till you shall give 
further directions. These proceedings I suspect to be done 
by the private directions of Smith. 

Order of Council made upon the above letter. — That Stephen 
Smith be committed to Newgate, and there kept safe under 
strong bolts till further order, and that William Fenn be 
sent to the pest-house, and a weight of iron be put on his 
heels to keep him safe and quiet there. Further, that the 
warders, for their great neglect, be put in the stocks placed 
in the street before the door of Smith's house. 


"The Blacke Dogg of New-gate'' — Metrical Description of the Prison — 
Laxity of Keeper — Killed by Whipping — Powell's Case — Dispute as to 
Keepership — Keeper's Extortion — Case of Lady Tresham — Case of 
Sarah Blomfield — Pestilence in Newgate — B,iot among Prisoners, owing 
to Priests being reprieved. 

In 1638 was published a little black-letter tract, called 
"The Discovery of a London Monster, called Tlic Blacke 
Dogg of New-gate^' which was evidently written by one who 
knew the prison. In fact, there was in ISTewgate what we 
should call a " public-house," named " The Dogge," and this 
little book begins : " A wonder, a wonder, Gentlemen, Hels 
brooke loose, and the Blacke Dogge of New-gate is got out 
of Prison, and leapt into a Signe." It is in prose and verse. 
The former treats mainly of the tricks of sharpers, etc., the 
latter with the treatment therein. I make a few extracts 
from the metrical portion, to show what the prison was like 
at that time. 

" Within his clutches did he cease me fast, 

And bare me straight unto Blacke Pluto's Cell : 
When there I came, he me in Lymbo ' cast, 

A Stigion lake, the Dungeon of deepe hell : 
But first my legs he lock'd in Iron Bolt, 
As if poore I had been some wanton Colt. 

" At last he left me in that irkesome den, 

Where was no day, for there was ever night : 
Woes me, thought I, the object of all men, 

Clouded in care, quite banished from light ; 
Eob'd of the Skie, the Stars, the Day, the Sun, 
This Dog, this Devill, hath all my joyes undone. 

'■ "The place where the condemned Prisoners be put, after their 

4 « 


" Surprest witli anguish, sorrow, grief and woe, 
Methought I heard a noyse of Iron chaines ; 
AVhicli dinne did torment and affright me so. 
That all my senses studied what it meanes : 
But, by- and by, which did me comfort more, 
There came a man which opened L>jmho's dore. 

" All leane was he, and feeble too, God knows. 
Upon his arme he bare a bunch of keyes : 
With Candle-light about the Cell he goes. 

Who roughly said, sir, lye you at your ease ? 
Swearing an oath that I did lie too soft. 
Who lay on ground, and thus he at me scoft. 

" To see a man of feature, forme and shape, 
It did me good, and partly feares exiled : 

But, when I heard him gybe me like an Ape, 
Then did I thinke that I was thrice beguiled. 

•Yet would I venture to this man to speake, 

Into discourses, thus gan I breake. 

"Aye me, poor wretch, that knowes not where I am. 
Nor for what cause, I am brought to this place : 
Bound for the slaughter, lying like the Lambe, 

The Butcher meanes to kill within a space. 
My griefes are more than can my tongue expresse. 
Aye me, woes me, that can find no redresse. 

" Yet, if thou be, as thou doest seeme, a man, 
And so thou art, if I doe not mistake : 
Doe not increase, if so increase thou can. 

The cruell tortures which me wofull make. 
And tell me first who thou thy self e mayest be. 
That art a man, and yet doest gybe at me. 

'■ Seeing the feares which did my heart possesse. 

Viewing the teares that trickled from mine eyes : 
He answered thus, a man I must confesse, 
I am myselfe that here condemned lies. 
And by the law adjudg'd I am to dye. 
But now the Keeper of these Keyes am I. 

" This house is Newgate, gently he replied. 

And this place Lymbo, wherein now thou art : 
Untill thou pay a Fine, heare must thou bide. 

With all these Bolts which doe agreeve thy heart. 
No other place may there provided he, 
Till thou content the Keeper with a Fee. 


" With that he turn'd, as though he would away. 

Sweet, bide a while, I did him so intreat : 
Quoth he, my friend, I can no longer stay. 

Yet what you want, if you will drinke or eate, 
Or have a fire, or candle by you burne, 
Say what you need, and I will serve your turne. 

" Quoth I, deare friend, then helpe me to a fire, 

Let me have candle for to give me light ; 
Nor meat, nor drinke doe I wish, or desire, 

But onely grant me gracious in thy sight : 
And say, what monster was it plac'd me here ? 
Who hath me, almost lifelesse, made with feare. 

" Nay, peace, quoth he, for there begins a tale. 

Rest now content, and Time will tell thee more : 

To strive in Fetters, it will small availe : 

Seeke first to ease thy legs, which will grow sore. 

When Bolts are oif, we will that matter handle. 

So he departed, leaving me a candle. 

" Away he went, and leaves me to my woes. 

And, being gone, I could not chuse but thinke. 
That he was kind, though first unkind in showes, 

Who offered me both fire, bread and drinke. 
Leaving a candle by me for to burne. 
It eab'd my griefe, and made me lesse to mourne. 

" Joying to see, who whilome had no sight, 

I reacht the candle, which by burning stands. 
But I, unworthy comfort of the light, 
* A Eat doth rob the candle from my hands. 
And then a hundred Eats all sally forth. 
As if they would convoy their prize of worth. 

'• See, in yon Hall are divers sorts of men. 

Some weepe, some waUe, some mourne, some wring their 
Some curse, some sweare, and some blaspheming then, 
My heart did faint, my head's haire upright stands. 
Lord, thought I, this house will rend in sunder. 
Or else there can be no hell, this hell under. 

" Thus wondring I, on suddaine did espie. 

One all in black came stamping up the staires : 

Whose yon, I askt, and thus he made reply. 
Yon is the man doth mitigate our cares. 

He preacheth Christ, and doth God's word deliver, 

To all distrest, to comfort men for ever. 


" Then drew I neere to see what might betide, 
Or what was the sequell was of that I saw : 

Expecting good would follow such a guide 
As preached Christ, and taught a God to know. 

A hundred clustering came the pulpit neare, 

As if they long'd the Gospell for to hcare. 

" What's this, quoth I, that now I doe behold, 
The hags of Hell, and Sathan's impious limbs, 

Some deeper secret doth this sight unfold, 
Than I can gesse, this sight my sences dims. 

Straight of my friend, I asked by and by, 

What it might be, who made me this reply. 

" Yon men which thou behold'st so pale and wan. 

Who whiles look up, whiles looking down beneath ; 
Are all condemn'd, and they must die each man, 

Judgement is given, that cord shall stop their breath. 
For haynous facts, as murther, theft and treason, 
Unworthy life, to dye. Law thought it reason. 

" The sermon done, the men condemned to dye. 
Taking their leaves of their acquainted friends : 
With sorry lookes, paysing their steps they ply, 

Downe to a Hall, where for them there attends 
A man of Office, who to daunt lives hopes. 
Doth cord their hands, and scarfe their necks with ropes. 

" Thus rop't and corded, they descend the stairs, 
Newgate's Blacke Dog bestirres to play his part ; 
And doth not cease for to augment their cares. 

Willing the Carman to set neare his Cart. 
Which done, these men, with fear of death ore pang'd. 
Bound to the Cart, are carried to be hang'd." 

The keepers of Newgate seem to have acted in a very 
lax manner on occasion, and appear to have conHidered that 
they were independent of the law. For instance, on 14th 
June 16.38, three judges of the King's Bench reported to the 
Council as to the conduct of .James Franklyn, keeper of 
Newgate, and William Kaven, officer of the Lord Mayor, in 
permitting i.iichard Chambers, committed to Newgate, for 
refusing to pay ship-money; and, after several times, 
remanded to the same custody, but, by negligence, per- 
mitted to remain at large. The judges declare that 
Franklyn had been guilty of great remissness and negli- 


gence, and Eaven in fault in bringing back Chambers to the 
house of the keeper, and there leaving him without acquaint- 
ing the keeper with his bringing the prisoner thither. How- 
ever, on 13th July following, the Lord Mayor certifies that 
the recalcitrant Chambers has paid all his assessment of 
ship-money — £10 — and awaits his order for discharge. 

Here is another case in which the keeper exercises his 
own discretion in allowing a prisoner to go at large. " 1638 
(no date) Francis Tucker, B.D., a prisoner in Newgate for 
debt, petitions the Archbishop of Canterbury to the effect 
that Samuel Eaton, prisoner in Newgate, committed by you 
for a schismatical and dangerous fellow, has held con- 
venticles in the gaol, some to the number of seventy persons, 
and is permitted by the keeper openly to preach. Eaton 
has oftentimes afSrmed in his sermons that baptism was the 
doctrine of devils, and its original an institution of the devil, 
and has railed against the archbishop, affirming that all 
bishops were heretics, blasphemers, and an ti- Christians. 
The keeper, having notice hereof by petitioner, who desired 
that these resorts might be pi'evented, and Eaton be reproved, 
and removed to some other place in the prison, replied to the 
petitioner disdainfully, threatening to remove him to some 
worser place. The keeper has been present in a conventicle 
of sixty persons when Eaton was preaching. He said there 
was a very fair and goodly company, and stayed there some 
season. Contrary to the charge of the High Commissiont he 
permits Eaton to go abroad to preach to conventicles. The 
keeper also caused petitioner's sister to be removed out of 
the prison, contrary to the opinion of a doctor, and she died 
the very next day, her chamber being presently after her 
removal assigned to Eaton; it being the most convenient 
place in the prison for keeping his conventicles. Prays the 
Archbishop to refer the matter to the sheriffs of London ; 
and, in the meantime, to take such course with the keeper 
as shall be thought fitting." 

Terrible, too, was the punishment inflicted upon prisoners, 
and here is a petition from a blackmailer, George Harrison 
to Archbishop Laud and the Lords of the High Commission 
Court. " John Cock, deceased, having discovered the incon- 
tinent life of John Thierry, merchant, and Ursula Bapthorp 


the latter offered Cock £27 to be silent, which he was 
content to accept, and petitioner went with Cock when he 
should have received the money. At their coming for the 
money, which she appointed at a tavern, they were arrested 
and carried to the compter, and thence committed to New- 
gate, Afterwards, at a Sessions, they were indicted, and, on 
the testimonies of the merchant, and the said Ursula's sister 
and her husband, were whipped three times to the pillory, 
where they stood eleven hours, and were not suffered to come 
down, till they had asked Thierry's and Ursula's forgiveness 
before all the spectators, and so, were three times whipped 
back again. By the extremity of which execution, petitioner 
.lost his speech and almost his understanding, and Cock was 
carried home dead in the cart. By which cruelty and 
disgrace, petitioner, who was formerly well respected, is now 
utterly undone. Forasmuch as Thierry and Ursula are now 
detected to this High Court, and that the said poor men 
suffered but for meddling with the truth thereof, petitioner 
prays that the merchant may be ordered to give him and 
his poor children, relief and restitution for their sufferings." 
Very curious were some of the crimes for whicli men 
were committed to Newgate, as we may learn from a letter 
from Bishop Wren, of Ely, to the Council (9th January 1639). 
It is a report on the case of Edward Powell, allns Anderson, 
prisoner in Newgate. I'owell was apprehended on the 
5th June 1G38 upon the riot then committed by an assembly 
of 200 persons, which they termed Anderson's camp, but is 
not imprisoned on that account, but for other misdemeanours 
and foul speeches before and at the time of his apprehension. 
Since his imprisonment in Newgate he has written divers 
letters into the country by which it appears that he was a 
mover and abettor of the riot, though perhaps not present 
at it. When His Majesty was at Newmarket in Lent last, 
Powell gave the crier of Ely 2d, to make proclamation 
through Ely tliat all that \vould, should meet the next 
morning to go to the king with a petition about their fens, 
for the losing of the fens would be the lo.sing of their liveli- 
hoods. Upon notice of which, Mr. John Goodrick, one of 
the justices of the peace, called Powell before him, who 
denied that he caused the crier to make such proclamation. 


and said : " If I deny it, the crier's evidence, being but one 
man, is no evidence, and if I confess it, what harm ? For 
what was he (Mr. Goodrick) and the rest of the justices ? 
They were but bishop's justices and not the king's." The 
next day, about five in the morning, Mr. Goodrick went into 
the market-place, and there found about sixty persons with 
cudgels in their hands, and Powell with them. Mr. Good- 
rick asked him what he did there ? He asked Mr. Goodrick 
if it was not lawful to be in the king's market-place, and so 
went to his company. Mr. Goodrick required the company 
to be gone, whereupon Powell, standing at the head of them 
before Mr. Goodrick, with a great cudgel in his hand, said : 
" I was, yesterday, in your hands, and heard what you would 
say ; now you shall hear what I have to say. I will com- 
plain of you to the King, for the King, my master, bade me 
tell him of any that hinder me in my petitioning of him, 
and you now hinder me, and the King shall know it. Can- 
not you keep at home, and take no notice of what we do ?" 
Among the poor people he hears and reports himself as one 
having ordinary access and speech of the king. They are 
told that the king at Newmarket leaned on his shoulder, 
and wept when he heard his relation. One of his letters 
says also that they may wonder he is so long in prison after 
the king's coming to London ; and it is added that he said 
to Mr. March, one of the justices of peace for the Isle of 
Ely, that if the king did not grant their petition it would 
cause a great deal of blood to be spilt ; and when Mr. March 
came to give evidence of this speech, Powell called out to 
him openly, " Mr. March, before you take your oath, answer 
me to this: were you never forsworn in, all your life?" 
These are the misdemeanours for which he was fined £200 
and imprisoned, and lies in execution for the same. Since 
his removal from the prison at Ely to Newgate the poor 
people are very quiet and in good order. 

We have seen (p. 22) that, by right, the sheriffs were 
the proper persons to appoint a keeper of Newgate, but, in 
1639, the Lord Mayor thought differently, and hence the 
following statement. Isaac Pennington and John Wollaston, 
elected and sworn sheriffs of London and Middlesex for the 
ensuing year, repaired, according to ancient custom, to 


Xewgate, received the keys and charge of the prisoners 
from the former sheriffs, and substituted John Francklin, 
keeper of the said gaol, who, about the 15th October follow- 
ing, died. The sheriffs then settled Henry Wollaston in 
the office of keeper of the said gaol, who peaceably executed 
that place for sis weeks. The Lord Mayor and Aldermen, 
never charging "Wollaston with any miscarriage, sent for 
him to their court at Guildhall, and demanded of him the 
keys of the said prison, who, refusing to deliver them to any- 
one without the consent of the sheriffs, was there detained 
until some officers were sent from the said court, who 
forcibly brought the servants entrusted with the said keys 
and prisonei-s by the said "Wollaston; and, without the 
knowledge or consent of the sheriffe, delivered them to 
Eichard Johnson, a young man, not free of the city, clerk 
to the recorder, who they conceive to be very unfit 
for such a trust. For redress, the sheriffs, by all fair 
means, have applied themselves divers times to the Lord 
ilayor and Court of Aldermen, who refuse to restore the 
said "Wollaston. The sherifife conceive that the trtust and 
keeping of the said gaol, both by law and reason, ought to 
be in their disposition, and that it is inseparably incident to, 
and of common right, belonging to their office ; they being 
liable to punishment for all escapes, and amerciaments for 
non-appearance of prisoners in His ilajesty's Courts of 
Justice, with many other such like damages and fears. 

The above statement is dated 1st March, and on 12th 
March we find the petition of Edmund and John Lathum, 
prisoners in Xewgate, to the king. " Your ilajesty granted 
a pardon for the discharge of 60 persons long since con\'icted 
in Xewgate gaol: petitioners being named in the pardon, 
tendered then- fees (after their discharge in Court), to the 
keeper of the gaol, who refuses to set them at liberty, 
requiring £10 more than his fees, which petitioners are not 
able to pay, being far from their country, and neglected by 
their friends." This is underwritten: "Heference to the 
Rfcorder and Slieriffs of London, vsho are to ddirmine this 
hui-inea in mich manrur as th'ry shall find jit!' It would Ijc 
interesting to know whether this peccant keeper was 
Mr. "Wollaston, or young Mr. Johnson. 


We hear very little of ladies beiag inmates of Xewgate, 
but I give two as examples, both ia 1639. The first is the 
petition of Lady Theodosia, wife of Sir William Tresham, to 
the king. " Petitioner has obtained three several commands 
from your Majesty to her husband, that, since he lives in 
Flanders from his -wife, he should pay her portion of £4000 
which he had with her in marriage. Sir WiUiam still 
presumes on his friends, and will not yield obedience, so 
that petitioner is still enforced to hve in great necessity. 
Prays a final command to Sir Wilham to repay the £4000 to 
petitioner, at her lodgings in Fleet Street, betwixt this and 
the first of May next; or, otherwise, to have no longer 
leave to enjoy his employments in Flanders." 

To this, Sii- William writes to the king, answering the 
unjust complaints of Dame Theodosia. "Whereas she 
alleges that petitioner has been disobedient to three several 
commands of your Majesty, petitioner answers that all her 
unjust complaints and supposed grievances have been 
twice fully and dehberately heard at the Council, and 
there ordered and determined, which orders have, in every 
part, been performed by Sir William as far forth as it in 
any wise concerned him. The demerits of her hght, lewd, 
and foul course of life justly weighed, she having been a 
gaol bird in Xewgate,"and arraigned at bar, and sentenced 
in the High Commission Court to pay costs to the informer. 
All which proceedings petitioner cannot decently relate, nor 
lay open, without offending your sacred ears." 

The other case is the petition of Sarah Blbmfield, late 
wife of Edward Jackson, of the Custom House, to the 
farmers of His Majesty's Customs. Her husband, after a 
domestic broil, caused her to be arrested upon an action of 
£1000, and most shamefully carried her to Xewgate gaol, 
where she remains, much afHicted and likely to perish, 
without your worships' favour and compassion for her 
rehef . Her husband, heretofore, allowed 4s. a week towards 
her maintenance, but now denies any fuither payment, 
endeavouring her ruin. Prays the farmers of the Customs 
to make order for the constant payment of her alimony, 
and to lay their commands upon her husband, that he 
may speedily procure her enlargement; also that they 


would extend their hands of Ghaiity tovrards her present 

Through defective sanitation, foul water, bad food, over- 
crowding, and general uncleanliuess. Xewgate never enjoyed 
a clean bill of health, and we, about this time, find notices 
somewhat similar to this; — "9 Aug. 1641. — The King to 
Eichard Jolmson, Keeper of Xewgate Gaol. "Warrant to 
i-elease Thos. Brewer, servant to Ahck. Earl of St. Albans 
and Clanrickard, who has been imprisoned two months for 
refusing the oath of allegiance, the said gaol being said to be 
infected with the pestilence." 

In a letter from ^^Tdney Bere to Sir John Penington, 
dated 16th December 1641, he refers to another .kind of 
outbreak : " For the proceedings of rarliament. you have 
them inclosed until Monday, which day there happened 
some disorder concerning tlie prisoners in Xewgate, who, 
being to suffer, and understanding the priests condemned 
with them, were not, but were in hope of reprieve, seized 
the gaolers keys and made themselves masters of the prison : 
but tlie trainbands coming up that day. forced them to 
surrender, and next day they were hanged, not without 
great murmuring of the common people." Another letter 
of the same date, but from a different source, s;iys : Last 
week there were seven priests condemned, but reprieved by 
the King, and many for other crimes. ]\Ionday being 
appointed for their execution, somebody had conveyed some 
arms into Xewgate. the night before: so they seized the 
prison, but at night were overmastered, and the next day 

In a tract entitled The Prisoners of Xcir-<jatcs Conclenina- 
tion, published April 1642. it says : " Xew-Gate hath not 
been more replenished with Prisoners these many years than 
now, there being very nigh 300 prisoners committed to that 
infamous Castle of Misery. . But. as the atrocitv of the 
crime, so the persons ought to precede : Wherefore I will 
begin lirst with the seven condemned Jesuits : these Popisli 
Priests were heretofore condemned according to the Liwand 
Justice of the Eeahu: being, apparently, found such pernicious 
enemies to the State; but the King's mercy beinc graciouslv 
extended to them, they obtained a Eeprieve from His 


ilajesty ; whereupon did arise a tumultuous mutiny among 
the other Prisoners, who refused to dy without the Jesuits ; 
but, afterwards, they were mittigated in a pacified tran- 
quillity. Notwithstanding that the Parliament petitioned 
to His ilajesty that execution might be imposed upon them ; 
but the King would not condiscend therunto, till His further 
pleasure; wherefore they have continued secure in New- 
gate ever since, one man being solely excepted ; viz. Good- 
man, who dyed last Good Friday, and at once deceived both 
Gregory ^ and Tyburn. But, since the Parhament have re- 
petitioned to His Majesty, that they may be now executed, 
in regard that they were such obstacles to their assiduous 
proceedings, His Majesty replyed, that if they were the 
obstruction and hinderance of Eeformation in the Church, 
bee desired that they might be forthwith executed, without 
any further delay." 

' The baDgman. 


Accusations against Laud — Eiot in Newgate — Royalist Prisoners — Pullen's 
Case — Lilburne's Trial — Capt. Hind's Trial — Moll Cutpurse — Prisoner 
sent to Sea — The Keeper's Claims — Quakers in Newgate — Roundheads 
in Newgate — Fifth Monarchy Men — Pepys thereon — Nonconformists 
in Newgate — Escape and Recapture — Fever in Newgate, 

In 1643 Archbishop Laud was in prison, and everything 
that could be raked up against him was thankfully received, 
and all his petty oppressions as one of the High Commission 
were brought to light. I give two instances in connection 
with Newgate. " Petition of Elizabeth Eaton, widow, to the 
House of Commons. That on the 29th April 1632, peti- 
tioner's husband was by Tomlyns, servant to Dr. Laud, then 
Bishop of London, carried to the Bishop's prison in Maiden 
Lane, London, when he was detained for half a year, and no 
cause shown, for refusing the oath Ex Officio. When he 
procured a habeas corpus to appear at the King's Bench bar, 
and tendered bail; he was remitted to prison becaiise he 
sought to be relieved at the Common Law, and, by the 
Bishop's order, was thence removed to the Gatehouse, at 
Westminster, and kept close prisoner for six months, 
petitioner not even being allowed to speak with her 
husband. He then was allowed out on bail for a few 
weeks ; but, persisting in his refusal to take the oath, was 
again remitted to the Gatehouse, by the Court of High 
Commission, and was charged by the keeper, Aquila Weekes, 
£4. After having been a year and a half in the Gate House, 
he was liberated on bond till such time as John Eagg, 
Archbishop's Laud's pursuivant, violently entered his house 
and attached him with a warrant from the Archbishop ; and 
without carrying him before any magistrate, haled him . to 
Newgate, where he remained for one whole year, and then 
died, leaving petitioner with two small children. She, 


herself, was also assaulted by Flamsteed, a pursuivant to 
Sir John Lamb, being then with child, which caused her to 
miscarry. John Eagg also took divers books out of her 
house, which were never returned. Prays satisfaction for 
the imprisonment, loss of estate, and death of her husband, 
and the hurt done to herself may be taken into considera- 
tion by this honourable Court." 

The other is the complaint of Kichard Crowther, some- 
time preacher of God's Word at Ewell in Surrey. That in 
1628 Dr. Abbott, Archbishop of Canterbury, being confined 
to his house, complainant was, at the instance of Laud, then 
Bishop of London, committed prisoner to Newgate for six 
weeks without bail. Dr. Mosely repairing to Bishop Laud, 
and desiring the cause why he had committed complainant, 
answered with fury " that he should know to his cost, and 
all the rest, before he had done with them." 

Newgate did not improve with time, for in 1648 one 
William Kith, prisoner in Newgate, petitioned the king. 
" Having been preserved through your Majesty's sovereign 
mercy, from death, prays that you will extend the same 
mercy to his enlargement, and not let him remain here, the 
place being more full of horror than death." 

There was another serious riot in this prison, according 
to a tract published 26th December 1648 : — " Terrible 
Newes from Neiogate. — On Wednesday, Decem. 20 the 
Honorable Bench at the Sessions house in the Old Bayley, 
having given sentence against the convicted prisoners, being 
17 in number; on Thursday night last they had their 
funerall Sermon at Newgate as accustomary, where divers 
had admittance in to heare the same; and amongst the 
rest many of the prisoners' wives who were condemned to 
die, brought swords and rapiers under their coats (being 
a designed plot for an escape) and so soon as Sermon was 
ended, delivered the said Weapons to the 15 condemned 
prisoners, who taking their opportunity, about 7 of the 
clock at night, ran violently at the Turnkey and the rest of 
the Keepers, wounding them, and forced their passage down 
the stairs, all of them making a clear escape away." 

Under the Commonwealth there was a fresh class of 
prisoners, namely, the Loyalists; and, as an instance, we 


find in the Proceedings of the Council of State, 20th 
August 1649. ''Lieut. -Col. Clarke, Major Wright, and 
Captain Wascot to be committed to Newgate for levying 
war against the Commonwealth." 

lu 1650 was published a book entitled " Herba Parietis, 
or the Wall Flower as it grew out of the Stone Chamber 
lelonging to the Metropolitan Prison of London, called New- 
Gate," written by Thomas Bayly whilst he was a prisoner 
there. The frontispiece is the first known representation 
of the Gate, and shows the wallflowers growing over the 

That Bayly was an ardent Ptoyalist there can be no 
doubt, for in his address To the Reader he says : " If to lose 
a Thousand Pounds per Annum for His Majesties sake ; if to 
lose Blood and Liberty in His Quarrell ; if to vindicate His 
Majesties Cause and Woi'kes, by Writing in their Defence, 
and suffering such an Imprisonment for those Vindications, 
be to wrong His Majesty, then I am guilty of that crime." 
And we get a glimpse of the quality of his companions in 
durance in the dedication of his book to Lady Susan Crane. 
"For the (particular) place whereon this Floicer did grow, 
let not the name of New-gate draw lacJc your Ladyship's 
hand from receiving it ; since New-gate is not now as New- 
gate was when Ladyes liv'd about the City, for that Gate is 
now become a famous place for Judges, Aldermen, Knights, 
Doctors in Divinity, Esquires, Gentlemen, Colonels, Lieutenant- 
Colonels, Majors, Ca-ptains : so that I see no reason but for 
place also my Flower may be fragrant to your S'nce, though 
it grew out of such a Prison!' 

Here is a somewhat curious occurrence of the Civil- War, 
9th April 1650. Order on the petition of John Waight, 
ensign, showing that he, being commanded to Scilly by 
Colonel Eobert Bennett in 1648, and the soldiers of that 
island then declaring for the late king, was detained prisoner 
and sent to Jersey, where he remained until 18th February 
last, when he was permitted to come upon his parole to 
procure a release for Charles Pullen, who was taken in the 
Hart frigate and committed prisoner to Newgate, from 
whence, in December last, he, with others, broke loose ; 
petitioner further alleging that he stands engaged by bond 

The Metropolitan Prison of London, called Newgate. 



to procure a discharge for Pullen— that the Council of State 
be moved to give order for the free discharge of Pullen from 
his imprisonment. 

In the Proceedings of the Council of State for 11th April 
there is a declaration as to Charles Pullen, who was lately 
a prisoner in Newgate, committed thither upon his being 
taken in the Hart frigate, but escaped thence last December, 
and, in case he is again taken, is subject to be punished by 
death, that the Council remit him the penalty and declare 
him to be free, that he may be exchanged for Ensign Waight, 
prisoner at Jersey, who came into England for such 

On 14th June 1653 the notorious John Lilburne, who had 
been in exile in the Netherlands and elsewhere, came to 
England, and was at once committed to Newgate. The 
story is well told in a letter to Lord Conway, dated 23rd 
June: "Legislative John Lilburne has almost brought his 
neck into a noose, for, being weary of his exilement by the 
late Parliament, he, about a month since, sent his wife over 
to petition for leave to return, which she could not obtain ; 
and, he, being impatient of delay, ventured over from Calais 
last Tuesday, and the next day was secured by warrant from 
the Lord General and his Council of Duodecemvirs. The 
Lord Mayor secured him in Sheriff Underwood's house, who, 
virtute officii, carried him before the Lord General, and Council, 
and they sent him, that evening to Newgate, and charged the 
Attorney General (for all his petitioning) to proceed against 
him according to the Act for his banishment. The substance 
thereof amounts to this ; that if, after the date of the said 
Act, he be found within any of our dominions, he shall be 
apprehended, and die without mercy as a felon : so that there 
needs no further trial, or legal proceedings. And, truly, my 
Lord General's intended government of this Commonwealth 
for the future, and Lilburne's turbulent, restless spirit, seem 
to be altogether incompatable." His trial began at the Old 
Bailey on 13th July, and on 20th August he was acquitted ; 
but although he quitted Newgate on 28th August, it was 
only to exchange that prison for the Tower, and, subsequently 
for other places of incarceration. 

In 1651 there was a prisoner in Newgate who was very 


popular, and whose pseudo-history is celebrated in chap- 
books. Captain James Hind was the son of a saddler of 
Chipping Norton, Oxon., and was apprenticed to a butcher 
of that town, but did not serve out his apprenticeship. He 
came to London, got into bad company, and turned high- 
wayman, and it was to his mythical exploits in this respect 
that he became a popular hero; still it was not for that 
crime that he was imprisoned in Newgate. It was because 
he was an ardent Eoyalist, and had fought well for his king 
on many occasions. In a tract, The Trial of Captain James 
Hind, pubhshed 15th December 1561, it says, " On Friday 
being the 12th of this instant December, about two of the 
clock in the afternoon, Capt. James Hind was ordered to 
be brought to the Bar before the Honorable Court at the 
Sessions in the Old-bayley ; and, accordingly he was guarded 
from Newgate by the Keepers ; who, being brought to the 
bar, divers questions were proposed, which he very mildly 
answered. Then the Eecorder asked him whether he accom- 
panied the Scotch King into England, and whether he was 
at the fight at Worcester : He answer'd. That he came into 
England with his Master, the King; and that he was not 
only at the fight at Worcester, but at Warrington also ; 
wishing that it had been his happy fortune there to have 
ended his dayes. Then some further questions were pro- 
posed in relation to his engagement, and touching his mad 
pranks : to which he answer'd. That what he confessed before 
the Councel of State, the like he acknowledged to that 
Honourable Court ; Protesting his innocency in any matter 
of fact, or crime, since the year 1649. He stands indicted 
upon High Treason by the Councel of State ; and thereupon 
the Court made no further progress against him, by reason 
that no Bill of Indictment was brought in ; so that he. was 
ordered to be remanded back to the place from whence he 
was brought : But, before his departure, this is observeable, 
That as he passed from the Bar, casting his head on one side, 
and looking as it were over the left shoulder, said ; These 
are filthy gingling spurs (meaning his Irons about his legs), 
but I hope to have them exchang'd ere long : which expres- 
sions caused much laughter. As he pass'd up the Old- 
bayley towards Newgate, divers people resorted to see him; 



who asked if he had received sentence; which words Mr 
Hind hearing, faced to the left ; and, smiling, said, No, no, 
good people, There's no hast to hang true folkes." He stayed 
in Newgate until 1st March 1652, when he was removed to 

Sifhere the Ereii'deijfe 

HUlet and. bfee-ch^ i^ a tljnJnrJXL are./3 e^ 


^ ..^^^.^ L d^yi^ 

Bates no attra Aioar -A^atjymir^anc^ areets 

Beading and tried for manslaughter, on the charge of having 
killed a friend in a quarrel near that place. Sentence of 
death was passed, but he procured a pardon under the Act 
of Oblivion. Still he was not let go, but was sent to Wor- 
cester, where he was tried and condemned on a charge of 


high neason. He was har.^e'i. drawn and quartered on 
the 24iti Seprember 1652. 

A cimous inmate of Xevrgace was Mary Frith, more 
commonly known by the name of Moll Curpurse. one ot 
wh'jse peculiarities was her wearing i.iau's apparel, as she is 
here shown. She was a pickpocket, a receirer of srolen 
etxxis. and everything that was bad : bnt she was heart and 
soul dev: ted to the cause of the Eiig. and hated a Eonndhead 
like p'^ison. She was great friends with the Cavaher high- 
wayman. Captain James Hind, and her sojoitrn in Xewgate 
was owin^: to her heini: mixed up in the robbery of Fairfax 
on Hoimslow Heath, when he had two h?rses kille^l. and 
was himself woimded. Frr this she was arrestee! and sent 
to Xewc^ate ; bnt. somehow, soon managed to get free. 

There is a saying that " the worst use you can put a man 
to. is to hang him,"' and Oliver CromweE seems to have been 
well a VI are of this, and to have made some use of sturdy 
prisoners. In September looo. -John Catterall, condemned 
pris:>ner in Xewgate, petitioned the Protector: -'On my 
adiiress to you. you grante<i an order to the Sheriffs for 
London and Middlesex, for my ' delivery ir:m a place of so 
much horror and confusion." that I might serve you at sea, 
which is my desire: biit the sheriffs refuse to obey the 
order imless sealed, so that I am in worse c audition than 
before. I beg you t look on my starving condition, and 
grant a second order, that I may not perish in a loathsome 
dimgeon in the liower of my age."" The Protector wrote to 
the sheriffs : " By a warrant of 20 July, we ordered John 
Cattenill. prisoner in Xewgate. convicted of felony and 
burglary, and condemned to die, to be reprieved and trans- 
ported to the "West Indies : but. on his p>etition. we now 
wish him tc> have liberty to go to sea in our service, in the 
^di-t"ntuir, or some other ship. You are, therefore, to dis- 
charge him, and he is to remain constantly in service at sea. 
performing his duty faithfully."' 

The interior economy of the prison seems to have been in 
a very " happy g'.^ lucky "' state, as we see by the Council's 
Proceedings, 4:th Xovember 16?6, Order on petition of 
HeiL WoUaston, late keeper of Xewgate Frisc^n — sh^iwin!; 
that, bv warrants of the House of Commons in IWl. 1642. 


and 1643, several prisoners were committed to Newgate who 
must have perished, if not relieved by the petitioner, the 
charge whereof amounts to £721, 4s. 6d., that he obtained an 
order from the House of Commons referring his petition to 
the then Treasury Committee at Guildhall, to pay him next 
after Sir Wm. Waller, and IMr. Eastwick ; but, as the 
Treasury was taken off from them, they suggested that the 
easiest way of payment would be by Ordinance of Parlia- 
ment, out of Goldsmith's Hall, or the Excise ; but that, 
nevertheless, he has received nothing of the said money, nor 
yet of a debt of £94, 13s. 4d. with interest, due to him on 
the public faith — that both debts and interest be paid him 
out of half such discovery of concealed money, etc., as he 
shall make to the Commissioners, who shall certify it to the 
Treasury Commissioners, and they may pay him accordingly. 
The poor man eventually got paid by a warrant of 22nd 
June 1658. 

At this time the Quakers were suffering persecution for 
their belief, and in September 1638 is "a list of Friends 
(Quakers) who are now prisoners in the several gaols of this 
nation for conscience sake, that those in authority may see 
what is done in the nation, and what work is committed by 
evil men against the servants of the Lord, to the ruin of 
many families, if not speedily prevented." There follows a 
list of one hundred and twenty-three in thirty-six prisons — 
only one being in Newgate. In October of the same year, 
is an account of Quakers in prison, names given, with their 
respective offences, speaking to ministers in churches, 
refusing to swear, or take off the hat, attending meetings and 
non-payment of tithes. There are now one hundred and ten 
prisoners in thirty-one gaols and houses of correction, many 
are sick, and nine had died — Newgate still had its solitary 
" Friend." 

In 1660 the king came to his own again, and then 
Newgate saw a change in prisoners, for all who had any 
connection with the trial and judicial murder of Charles i. 
were pursued with rancorous cruelty, even down to such 
small game as the following :—'^ July 1660, John King, a 
prisoner in Newgate, petitions Secretary Nicholas to procure 
him the benefit of the King's pardon ; he is deeply penitent 


for being crier of tlie Court at tlie trial of tlie late King ; 
was afterwartls turned out ot his place as messenger to the 
Council of State, for favouring his Majesty's friends, and has 
availed himself of the general pardon." So petty indeed were 
some of the charges, that we must wonder at a magistrate 
not dismissing them at once. Take the following as an 
instance: — "30 Dec. 1660. Examination of Katherine 
Woodroof, of Great St. Bartholomew's, by Secy. Nicholas. 
A woman lodging in her house said there would be a fall as 
sudden as the late rise, and tliat was done to the King 
would be sudden, and in his meat. Had her ap])reliended, 
and the Lord Mayor committed her to Newgate"; or this: 
"24 Aug. 1661. Sir llichard Browne, Lord Mayor of 
London, to Secy. Nieliolas. lias obeyed liis orders in 
searching St. ISartholomew's for ]\Iajor Jtilin Cobbet, or 
('orbet. There had been a meeting of three hundred, but 
all were gone except ten men and thirty women, whom he 
has apprehended and sent to Newgate ; gives the names and 
addresses of the ten men, and wliat they will confess of 
their callings. They say they met to serve (Jod ; and, being 
told that he best served (uid who obeyed the. King, replied 
that they were not bound to obey him wlicn the Spirit 
commanded the contrary.'' 

There were also those that believed in "the Fifth 
Monarchy wliich was to eome," and these zealots crowded 
the gaols. One of tiieni, Jdlm James, a weaxer, seems to 
have been a shining light among them, for there are two 
tracts devoted to him and Ids sjieeches in prison : and in 
one of them we find "Some Account of the Fees and Charges 
(/cmandcil and paid by John Jamcn to the Oj/iars and Jaylors, 
dnrimj his Tryal and Iiiijirisoiiiiicnt. That notwithstanding 
his great poverty, who (as it was well known, what through 
the means of his calling, but especially the weakness of his 
body) had much adoe for this many years to get Bi'cad 
for his Family, these Following Fees were exacted from 
him. First, (liesides the Oiarges and Fees ]iaid by him in 
A^ciri/iile) .ui)on his Arraignment at Wcdm.inder, and first 
Commitment to the Kimfs Bench Prison, the Tipstaffe men 
received of him 13s. for the -ludge's Clerks, their own, and 
Officers' Fees; and Is. for iu.s Prison in the ICiiii/'s Ifcm/ 


Tavrni, in Wi'dmindir, wliicli they doiii;uiii(;(l with rigor; 
ho lold Uietri Ihat lie waH a poor nijui, and had it not to 
givi! tlacin, and tliat they would have his Life, and ho 
tlioiight that might mWw, them: but tiiey would ahato 
him notliitig; for tlieir Fooh, they hmIiI, they iiiuHt have; 
wh(5r(!U|)oii lie waH coriHtraiiied to borrow tho Hamo at Wesl- 
miitMcr, to pay them. 

" lJ])on luH (!oiuii)g to the Kini/'n Jkurh Prison, Sir, Jo/iv, 
Lciillial received of him for i-'eoH, the Hum of 15h. and tlien 
turned liim into a yard where it rained ujion him; and 
after, (for some HhidtiM' he got amongHt them in an Ale- 
liouHe) he paid 3h. Gd. After he was cast for his Life, the 
'J'ipHtair men, ))elonging to tlie King's JlcnrJi, at Wedm/mdcr 
demanded his Cloak of him, wliich lie, refusing to give, they 
took by violenco, saying. It innd be. dir/ukd aiKoiii/d nrvcrid 
(if l.hc.iii; which, afterwards, they oUci'ed to sell him: Imt 
he told thcni lie had but a little time to livi;, and those 
Uloaths he had, should H(;ive him. After his return to the 
h'iii(j\ JSciirli. /'rintiii; ho was constrained to iiay 5s. to K-ecji 
in his former Prison Chamber, and thcsy forced him also 
to dyot a man they put with liim to look after him during 
his stay tlicr(!. And all the time of his Tryal they would 
hurry him to Ale liouses, and still niak(! him pay for all ; 
and ])ut him to all charges of going by Water, when he 
was brought to and from his Tryals. Further, His Wife 
was constraineil to pay to Jfid'n, the Kiicjjer of the rrrssr 
Vii/rd, the sum of IGs. for his (Jiiamber rent during his 
continuance tben^ which was not above thi(!e or four daycs. 
I'he Ifaiii/, also, tlu! day before ids Execution, came to 
demand Monciy, that ho might be favourable to him at his 
Death, lice asking what would satislie him ? tho Hangman 
di^manded Twenty ]ioiindH ; but Ju/ni. ./(unrn jtleading poverty, 
ho fell to TiMi pounds; but, in concluHion told him, that if 
ho would not give him Five Tounds, he would torture him 
exceedingly: To which ./o//;;. .A/./;/t's siiid, ho must leave that 
to his mercy, for he had nothing to give him." 

VVc may as well a,ttend him to the gallows, as it gives 
a faithful jiieturo of how an (ixeeution for high treason 
was then carried out. " So(m after the Keeper came into 
the Room, and calling him down to deliver him to the 


Sheriff, he told him he was a welcom messenger, he had 
waited long for him; and so he came with joy after the 
Keeper from his Chamber into the Press yard; where, 
hearing the noise of the multitude without, said to a 
Friend, There would he, Ixj and by, as many Hallelujahs as 
shoutings of the people vsithout; and there they bound him 
about the back with a new Cord, and so had him into the 
street, like a Sheep to the slaughter. With a sweet smiling 
countenance he came into the street ; where he was a gazing 
stock unto the multitude; and so, being placed upon the 
Sled, drawn by a Team of Horses, attended by the Sheriffes 
men and a Company of Foot Soldiers, was drawn along to 
Tyhurn; the way out of the Town being very foul, he was 
drawn through very much water and dirt, besides the very 
much slopping of the horses that went besides him, yet for 
aU this he was bom up with much joy and chearfulness, 
not at aU dismayed or terrified." 

Arrived at Tyburn, he asked the sheriff for leave to 
address the people. This granted, he made a very long 
oration, and "after this, he could not speak more, being 
very much tired, and his body brought very low. The 
Hangman said. The Lord, receive your Soul. He replyed 
/ thank you. Then another said. This is a happy day. 
He said, 1 blcsse the Lord, if is so. The other said, The 
Lord make your passage easie ; he said, / trust he vjill so. 
One asked him if lie had any thing to say to the Sheriff? 
He said, JYo, hut only to thank him for his Civility. Then 
the Hangman having prepared him for his death, drew 
away the Cart, John James said aloud, (lifting up his 
hands) Father, into thy hands I commend my Spirit, and 
so finished his course. 

" The Sheriff and Hangman were so civil to him, in his 
Execution, as to suffer him to be dead before he was cut 
down; the Hangman taking out his Heart, and burning 
his Members and Intrails, returned his Head and Quarters 
back to Keirgaie, put into a Basket in a Cart, and from 
thence were disposed by the King, vi-.. his Quarters to 
the Gates of the City, and his Head, first upon the Bridge, 
but, afterwards (by appointment) taken down thence, and 
put upon a Pole in White-Chappel, over against the passage 


to the ]\Ieeting place, where he and his Company were 

This particular specimen of " Fifth Monarchy Men " 
might have been very good and meek, but he must have 
been an exceptional man to others of his creed, many of 
whom were imprisoned in Newgate and afterwards executed. 
Of their rising in January 1661 under Venner, Pepys has 
left us a graphic record. " 8 Jan. — Some talk to-day of a 
head of Fanatiques that do appear about, but I do not 
believe it. However, my Lord Mayor, Sir Eichard Browne, 
hath carried himself very honourably, and hath caused one 
of their meeting houses to be pulled down. — (9th) Waked 
in the morning about 6 o'clock by people running up and 
down, in Mr Davis's house, talking that the Fanatiques 
were up in armes in the City. And so I rose and went 
forth ; where, in the street, I found every body in armes at 
the doores. So I returned (though with no good courage at 
all, but that I might not seem to be afraid) and got my 
sword and pistol, which, however, I had no powder to 
charge ; and went to the door, where I found Sir E. Ford,^ 
and, with him, I walked up and down as far as the 
Exchange, and there I left him. In our way, the streets 
full of train bands, and great stir. What mischief these 
rogues have done ! and I think nearly a dozen had been 
killed this morning, on both sides. The shops shut, and all 
things in trouble. — (10th) Mr. Davis told us the particular 
examinations of these Fanatiques that are taken : and, in 
short, it is this, these Fanatiques that have routed all the 
Train bands that they met with, put the King's Life Guards 
to the run, kiUed about twenty men, broke through the 
City gates twice ; and all this, in the daytime, when all the 
City was in armes : — are not, in all, above 31 men. Whereas 
we did believe them (because they were seen up and down 
in every place almost in the City, and had been in Highgate 
two or three days, and in several other places) to be, at 
least, 500. A thing that was never heard of, that so few 
men should dare and do so much mischiefe. Their word 
was 'The King Jesus, and their heads upon the gates.' 

' The Lord Maj'or of London, 1671. 


Few of them would receive any quarter, but such as were 
taken by force, and kept ahve: expecting Jesus to come 
here and reign in the world presently, and will not believe 
yet.— (19th) To the Comptroller's, and with him, by coach, 
to Whitehall; in our way meeting Venner and Pritchard 
upon a sledge, who, with two more Fifth Monarchy Men 
were hanged to-day, and the two first drawn and quartered." 
Venner and Hodgkins were executed before Venner's Meet- 
ing House in Coleman Street ; Pritchard and Oxman at the 
end of Wood Street. 

Then came the turn of the non-conforming clergy to be 
committed to Newgate, and the first one who thus suffered, 
after the passing of the Uniformity Act, was the Eev. 
Edmund Calamy, perpetual curate of St. Mary, Alderman- 
bury, who was sent to this prison under the Lord Mayor's 
warrant on 6th January 1663 ; but he was there but a very 
little time, as we find an order for his release on 13th 
January. Indeed on this same 13th January there was 
issued a warrant to the Justices of Gaol Delivery and 
Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer, sitting at the Old 
Bailey, to release Quakers and other prisoners in Newgate 
for attending unlawful meetings, unless they have been 
seditious or seducers of others, in hopes that their sufferings 
will prevent their falling into the same faults again. 

In November, this year, a prisoner, named Lackey, 
escaped from Newgate by his wife changing clothes with 
him, and got into a hole between two walls in Thomas 
Court ; but though he had a rug and food, yet, the night 
being wet, he wanted beer, and, peeping out, he was 
perceived, caught, and brought back. I cannot trace his 

In a letter of 30th September 1664, a paragraph says: 
" Newgate is so full that they have an infectious malignant 
fever amongst them, which sends many to their long home ; 
and the magistrates, who think them unfit to breathe their 
native air while living, bury them as brethren, when 


Newgate and the Great Fire — Claude Duval—" Devol's last Farewell " — 
Pepys and Newgate — Newgate Token — Religious Prisoners in Newgate 
— Mary Carleton, "the German Princess." 

Newgate did not escape the great conflagration of 1666, 
but although it was not destroyed it wanted serious repair- 
ing. It retained some of its old features, but was more 
ornate, as we may see by the accompanying illustration. 

This view gives the east side of the gate, and the statues 
are those of Justice, Fortitude, and Prudence. The west 
side was adorned with three ranges of Tuscan pilasters, with 
their entablatures, and in the intercolumniations were four 
niches containing statues of Liberty, Peace, Security, and 
Plenty ; at the feet of Liberty lay a cat, said to be an 
allusion to Sir ELchard Whittington ; poor puss, however, 
fell down one day, and was never replaced. These last four 
figures were placed by Dance on the west and south sides 
of his erection, where they remained until Newgate was 
demolished, although but few Londoners knew who they 
represented, so smoky and begrimed were they. In Ealph's 
Critical Review of PuUic B^dldings, he says : " Newgate, 
considered as a prison, is a structure of more cost and 
beauty than was necessary ; because the sumptuousness of 
the outside, but aggravates the misery of the wretches 
within : but, as a gate to such a city as London, it might 
have received considerable additions both of design and 
execution, and abundantly answer the Cost in the reputa- 
tion of building. The gate of a city, erected rather for 
ornament than use, ought to be in the style of the ancient 
triumphal arches; and it must be allowed that hardly 
any kind of building admits of more beauty and per- 



In 1670 Newgate held as a prisoner a famous highway- 
man of French extraction, named Claude Duval. He was 
born at Domfront, which, according to the following story, 

Newgate, 1672. 

must have been a particularly wicked place, for, in the 
reign of Charles ix., the cure of the parish was cited before 
his ordinary, the Archbishop of Eouen, for refusing to 


baptize any of his parishioners' children. " Upon summons, 
he appears, the Archbishop takes him up roundly, tells him 
he deserves deprivation if that can be proved which is 
objected against him ; and asks him what he has to say 
for himself ? After his due reverence, he answers that he 
acknowledges the fact, to save the time of examining wit- 
nesses, but desires his Grace to hear his reasons, and then 
do unto him as he shall see cause. I have been, saies he. 
Curate of this parish these seven years; in that time I 
have, one year with another, baptised a hundred children, 
and buried not one. At first I rejoyced at my good for- 
tune to be placed in so good an air: but, looking back 
into the Eegister Book, I found, a hundred years back, 
nearly the same number yearly baptised, and not one 
above five years old, buried. And, which did more amaze 
me, I find the number of Communicants to be no greater 
now than they were then : this seem'd to me a great 
mystery, but upon further inquiry, I found out the true 
cause of it, for all that are born at Domfront were hanged 
at Kouen. I did this to keep my Parishioners from hang- 
ing, incouraging them to dye at home, the burial duties 
being already paid." 

He was a popular hero, as is shown in this metrical 
account of his deeds : — 


To the tune of ' Upon the Change.' 

"You bold, undaunted Souls attend 
To me, wlio did the Laws offend ; 
For now I come to let you know 
What prov'd my fatal overthrow, 
And brought my glory to decay ; 

It was my Gang, for whom I hang, 
Well a day. Well a day. 

" Unto a Duke I was a Page, 
And succour'd in my tender age. 
Until the Devil did me intice, 
To leave of Virtue and follow Vice ; 
No sooner was I led astray 

But Wickedness did me possess. 
Well a day, Well a day. 


" If I my Crimes to mind shou'J call, 
And lay them down before you all, 
They would amount to such a Suqi, 
That there is few in Christendom, 
So many wanton Pranks did play : 

But now, too late, I mourn my fate, 
Well a day, Well a day. 

" Upon the Koad, I do declare, 
I caused some Lords and Ladies fair, 
To quit their coach, and dance with us : 
This being done, the case was thus. 
They for their Musick needs must pay : 
But now, at last, those Joaks are past, 
Well a day. Well a day. 

" Another time, I and my Gang, 
We fell upon a Noble Man ; 
In spite of all that he could do. 
We took hia Gold and Silver too. 
And with the same we rid away ; 

Biit^ being took, for Death I look. > 

Well a day. Well a day. 

" When I was mounted on my Steed, 
I thought myself a Man indeed ; 
With Pistol cock'd and glittering Sword, 
Stand and deliver, was the word 
Which makes nie now lament and say, 

Pity the fall of great Devol. 
Well a day. Well a day. 

" I did belong unto a Crew 
Of swaggering Blades as ever drew : 
Stout Witherington and Dowglas both, 
We were all three engag'd by Oath 
Upon the Road to take our way : 

But, now, Devol must pay for all. 
Well a day, Well a day. 

" Because I was a Frenchman born, 
Some Persons treated me with scorn ; 
But, being of a daring Soule, 
Although my Deeds was something foul, 
My gaudy Plumes I did display ; 

But, now, my Pride is laid aside. 
Well a day. Well a day. 


" I reign'd with an undaunted mind, 
Some years, but now, at last, I iind 
The Pitcher that so often goes 
Unto the Well, as Proverb shows, 
Comes broken home, at last, we say ; 

Fpr, now, I see my Destiny. 
Well a day. Well a day. 

" Then being brought to Justice Hall, 
Try'd and condemn'd before them all : 
Where many noble Lords did come, 
And Ladies, for to hear my Doom, 
Then Sentence pass'd, without delay. 
The Halter first, and Tybourn last. 
Well a day. Well a day." 

He was hanged on 21st January, at the early age of 
twenty-seven, and the following is a contemporary account 
of his obsequies : — " After he had hang'd a convenient time, 
he was cut down, and, by persons well dress'd, carried into 
a Mourning Coach, and so conveyed to the Tangier Tavern 
in St. Giles's, where he lay in State all that night, the Eoom 
hung with black cloath, the Hearse covered with Scutcheons, 
eight wax Tapers burning, as many tall gentlemen with 
long black Cloaks attending. He was buried with many 
Flambeaux, and a numerous train of Mourners, most whereof 
were of the Beautiful Sex. He lies in the middle He in 
Covent Garden Church, under a plain white marble stone, 
whereon are curiously ingrav'd the Du Vails Arms." 

Pepys, in his Diary, says very little about Newgate. 
On 1st August 1667, he casually mentions "Home, the 
gates of the City shut, it being so late: and at Newgate 
we find them in trouble, some thieves having, this night, 
broke open prison." And again, on 3rd December 1667, 
he says, "Sir Eichard Ford says, also, that this day hath 
been made to appear to them that the Keeper of Newgate 
hath, at this day, made his house the only nursery of rogues, 
prostitutes, pick pockets, and thieves, in the world ; where 
they were bred and entertained, and the whole society met ; 
and that, for the sake of the Sheriffes, they durst not this 
day committ him, for fear of making him let out the prisoners, 
but are fain to go by artifice to deal with him." 

Farthings coined by the Crown were not issued until 


1672, although patterns had been prepared. As Snelling 
observes: — "N"o other proposals have come to our know- 
ledge, until the year 1668, when propositions to coin a 
common farthing were made by Prince Eupert and Lord 
Henry Howard ; and, in the next year, others by Mr. Elias 
Palmer; but we are ignorant of which articles either of 
them consisted, and therefore cannot determine whether 
they had any affinity to, or agreed with, the patterns of 
1665, or the farthing that took place soon after." It was 
left to private enterprise to supply this want; tradesmen 
took the matter into their own hands, and issued farthing 
tokens not only in London, but all over the country. Even 
Newgate was in the fashion, and had its farthing. One 
copy of this coin is in the Beaufoy collection of the London 
Traders, Tavern and Coffee-House Tokens, current in the 
seventeenth century, in the possession of the Corporation of 
the City of London, and another in the British Museum. 
The obverse has in seven lines, Beloiiging to ye Gcllor on the 
masters side cd 1669, and on the reverse is JVewgat, with a 
rude representation of the Gate. 

The religious persecution went on apace, for on 1st July 
1670 there is an account by Sir John Eobinson of fanatic 
meetings held in the Tower Hamlets, viz. : — " 3 Inde- 
pendents, which met at Mr. Greenhill's, in Stepney, John 
Eyder's, in Meeting House Alley, and Dr. Anslow's, in 
Spitalfields; 2 Presbyterians, 2 Anabaptists, 1 Quakers, 
and 1 fifth Monarchy," with particulars of proceedings taken 
against each for their suppression. " Seven great Anabaptist 
preachers have been sent to Newgate for refusing to take 
the Oath of Allegiance and Supremacy. Many others of 
the inferior sort have been convicted, and those disturbed, 
have quietly submitted." He had sent to all the ministers 
in the Hamlets for information of any other meetings, but 
they knew of none. 

I find a warrant, dated 17th October 1670, to Sir 
William Morton, Justice of King's Bench, and the Eecorder 
and Sheriffs of London, to reprieve Mary Carleton, alias 
Kirton, alias Blacke, who has been a second time con- 
demned to death for felony, and to cause her to be inserted 
in the next general transportation pardon for convicts of 


Newgate. And hereby hangs a tale of one of the most 
accomplished adventuresses of that age. By her own con- 
fession at her death, she was born at Canterbury, 22nd 
January 1642, her father's name being Moders, a chorister 
in the Cathedral there ; but during her lifetime she main- 
tained that she was born at Cologne, and that her father's 
name was Henry Van Wolway, " a Licentiate and Doctor of 
Civil Law, and Lord of Holmstein ; a man esteemed for his 
services done to the City of Cologne, in mediating their 
peace, security and neutrality, in the Swedish and German 
war, and for other effects of his counsels and endeavours to 
the Ecclesiastical Prince Elector, and the House of Lorraine, 
in all the turmoils of that country, in the first rupture of 
the Spanish and Freuch war." Hence she obtained the 
tible of the German Princess. 

One thing is certain, that when about sixteen or seven- 
teen years of age she married Thomas Stedman, a shoemaker 
of Canterbury, by whom she had two children who died in 
infancy. With him she lived about three years, but getting 
tired of him, robbed him, and tried to elope with the mate 
of a ship bound for Barbadoes ; but her husband took out a 
warrant against her, and lodged her in Dover Castle. Erom 
this time she had no more to do with Stedman, but went 
abroad, and on her return, after two years' absence, married 
one Day, a surgeon at Dover. She was tried for bigamy at 
Canterbury, but was acquitted, and then travelled for a 
time in France and Holland, returning about 1662, with a 
smattering of French and German. She then met with one 
John Carleton, and they seemingly deceived each other, she 
pretending to be a German princess, and he a gentleman of 
quality, according to the official account of her trial in 
Howel's State Papers. " After she was arraigned, and going 
back to gaol, her husband, the young Lord, told her, he 
must now bid her adieu for ever. To which she replied — 

' Nay, my Lord, 'tis not amiss, 
Before we part, to have a kiss.' 

And SO saluted him, and said, ' What a quarrel and noise 
here's of a cheat ! You cheated me, and. I you : you told me 
you were a Lord, and I told you I was a Princess ; and I 


think I fitted you,' and so saluting each other, they parted." 
Him she married on 21st April 1663, but Carleton, on 
finding she was an impostor, had her arrested for bigamy. 
She was committed to Newgate, and tried at the Old Bailey 
on .4th June 1663. Her defence, untrue from beginning to 
end, was ingenious, and seemingly prevailed with the jury, 
especially as the judge in his charge told them, " If Guilty, 
she must die ; a woman hath no Clergy, she is to die by the 
law, if Guilty," and they brought in a verdict of "Not 

Her case excited great interest at the time. Pepys 
mentions her on 29th May 1663. " Then, with Creed, to 
see the German Princesse, at the Gate House at West- 
minster," and again (7th June), " After church, to Sir W. 
Batten's ; where my Lady Batten inveighed mightily against 
the German Princesse, and I as high in the defence of her 
wit and spirit, and glad that she is cleared at the Sessions." 
She and Carleton both issued pamphlets in vindication of 
themselves ; and, indeed, for the time, she was the talk of the 
metropolis. To quote one of her many biographers : " But 
many of those who rejoiced at her Acquittal and Deliver- 
ance from prison, had little cause for it afterwards ; for 
some, who had even visited her with congratulations at her 
Lodgings, were the very Persons not long after cheated by 
her of a considerable Quantity of Plate, and then they 
cursed her, as they now magnified her for a great Wit, 
Beauty, and brave Woman. It must, indeed, be confess'd 
that her Husband and his Eolations were too severe in their 
Prosecutions, and there was much Malice in their Actions, 
because they could make nothing out against her of the two 
Marriages. This threw her upon the cold Bleak of the 
world, and laid the Foundation of her utter Euin. She 
was so famous, that so great a Novelty had not been known 
in. the Age she liv'd, nor in any other Age, as I can read of : 
I never heard of her Parallel in everything ; and, I believe, 
had she been exposed to publick View for Profit, she might 
have raised £500 off those who would have given Sixpence 
and a Shilhng a piece to see her ; it was the only Talk for 
all the places of publick Eesort in and near London. 

" She appeared for a short time upon the Duhe's Theatre 


in Dorset Gardens, and once performed in a Play, after her 
own ISTame, !!7ic German Princess;''- there was a great Con- 
fluence of People to behold her, yet she did not perform 
so well as was expected, but there was great Applauses 
bestow'd upon her : Some of her Friends advised her to set 
up a Coffee House, at which Employment she might have 
done well enough, and which trade her husband Carleton 
was, afterwards, necessitated to take up : but she had other 
Fish to fry, she had a running Brain, and the whole City of 
London was too little for her to act in. But it was her fate 
to do some more notable Actions, such as would bring her 
again to the Old Bailey." 

She now flung all modesty to the winds, and, on that 
account, some of her adventures can hardly be retold, but 
the following are generally accepted as true, and are taken 
from an account of her latter life, which is the tersest and 
least open to the charge of romance that I know of. 

" Having thus over-reached her old Lover, it was not long 
e'er she had a young one ; who, you shall see she used no 
better than the former. She passed in her new Lodgings 
for a Virgin newly come out of the Country upon some 
extraordinary Occasions ; she was provided of a Maid 
Servant, as cunning and as subtle a Baggage as herself, and 
who was, afterwards, very assisting to her in all her Affairs. 
She had already given out that she had a £1000 to her 
Portion, left by an Uncle, and which she would demand 
upon her Marriage. One Mr. Woodson, a young Gentleman 
of Islington, who had an estate of £200 per Ann. and £500 
in ready Money, saw her, and soon became enamoured, and 
professed a most violent Passion for her ; but she, pretending 
to be mighty unwilling to marry without her Father's 
consent, and shewing him twenty forg'd letters as from 
Admirers in the Country, and by one Trick or other, at last 
found means to rob him of about £300, and then shifted her 
Lodgings to Houndsditch. Where she told her Landlady, 

^ Pepys says (15th April 1664) : "To the Duke's House, and there saw 
' the German Princesse ' acted by the woman herself ; but never anything 
so well done in earnest, worse performed in jest upon the stage. And, 
indeed, the whole play, abating the drollery of him that acts her husband, is 
very simple, unless, here and there, a witty sprinkle or two." 


that a Country Gentleman of her Acquaintance, happening 
to fall sick in a pitiful Alehouse in London, died, and that 
some Friends of his, and her together, had thought it con- 
venient to remove the Corpse to a House of more Credit, in 
order to handsome Burial. The landlady readily granted 
the use of her best Chamber, whither the Corpse was brought, 
and a topping Undertaker in Leaclenhall Street laid hold of 
the Jobb, who, having received an unlimited Commission to 
perform the Funeral, resolved that nothing should be want- 
ing to make the Bill as compleat as possible. Accordingly, 
he provides a good Quantity of Old Plate for an Ornament 
to the Eoom, where the Body lay; viz. two large Silver 
Candlesticks, a Silver Flaggon, two standing Silver Bowls, 
and several other Pieces of Plate ; but, the night before the 
intended Burial, Madam and her Maid handed out to their 
Comrades all the Man's Plate, together with the Velvet Pall, 
and then got away by a Ladder that was placed to the 
Balcony. Upon opening the Coffin, which had been brought 
from an Alehouse nailed up, it was filled with nothing but 
Brick bats. 

" Her next prank was in cheating a Mercer in Lombard 
Street, by pretending to buy a large Quantity of Silks ; and, 
bringing his Apprentice in the Coach with her, in order for 
Payment, she bilk'd the Youngster at Exeter Change, and 
brought off the Goods to the value of £20. 

" Soon after this, she cheated two Weavers in Spitalfields, 

. and a Laceman, of goods to the value of £80, by dancing 

them up and down the Town, from place to place, 'till by 

some Wile, or Stratagem, she could find means to drop them, 

and carry off the goods she had brought from their houses. 

"The Landlady of the House, where she once lodged, 
being a Mantua maker, she ordered two new Gowns and 
Petticoats to be made against her Birthday, as she pre- 
tended ; when several Friends, she said, were to come and 
be merry with her. A great many Workwomen the good 
Woman hired to get the Work done against the time ; when 
several of her sharping Companions came richly habited, 
and a sumptuous Banquet was provided for them, at which 
the Landlady drank so freely, that, in the evening, she laid her- 
self on the bed to repose ; and, being fast asleep, our Princess, 


with the Help of her Companions, carried off all the Woman's 
Plate, and every thing else that was portable. She likewise 
tricked an Exchange Woman of Eibbands, Hoods, Scarves, 
Gloves, &c., and, after that, drew in and trepann'd a young 
Lawyer, at Hesson, in Middlesex, of £100. She often changed 
her lodgings, visited Taverns and Alehouses, steaUng silver 
Tankards, Bowls, and other drinking Vessels in abundance ; 
but, for some of these Facts, she was detected, found Guilty, 
and sent to Jamaica ; from whence she returned, in little 
more than a year, great with child, and was delivered soon 
after, of a fine Boy, at her Lodgings in the little Old Bailey ; 
though some have said she was brought to bed, in Neicgate, 
and that it was a miraculous Child, by saving his Mother's 
life, when in the womb ; intimating thereby, that she evaded 
the Execution of her Sentence of her Death, by pleading her 

" She presently fell to her old Trade of Pilfering and 
Cheating, 'till she met with an Apothecary, to whom she pre- 
tended to be rich Citizen's Niece, and was actually married 
to him in the young Lady's Name ; and, having robb'd him 
of a great Sum of Money, left him. 

" After this, she took Lodgings at Charing Cross, a rich 
old Batchelor, a Watch-maker, lodging in the same House ; 
she invites the Landlady, her Daughter and the Watch- 
maker to go see a Play at Dorset Gardens, and, afterwards, 
entertains them at the Green Dragon Tavern, in Fleet Street 
with a Supper ; she, pretending to be sent for into another 
Company of Gentlemen and Ladies, that were in the Tavern, 
slipt home, and broke open the Watch-maker's trunks, (there 
being only two little Girls left in the House, 'till the Eeturn 
of the Family) and steals £200 ready Money, and about 30 
rich Watches, to the value of £400 more ; while her Maid, 
Heme, alias Keeling, found means to steal from the Land- 
lady and the Watch-maker at the Tavern, and come to the 
place her Mistress had appointed to meet her at. This 
Eobbery alarmed all the Town, and though she passed for a 
Widow, and had so disguised her Countenance, that it was 
not every one knew her again, yet the German Princess was 
cried up every where for the Thief. This was her last Pro- 
ject, her appointed time was drawing nigh, her Glass had 


but few more Sands to run. She now passed the Eiver of 
Thames Southward, and lodged in St. Georges Fields, where 
one Fisher, a Bailiff, searching after one Lancaster, a Felon, 
who had robb'd Mr. Freeman, a Brewer in Southwarh, of 
£200, unawares came upon Her Highness, who was walking 
in her Chamber, in a rich Night Gown, with a Letter upon 
her Table, directed for one Hyde, a notorious Bobber, by 
which she was discovered, imprisoned, and brought by 
habeas Corpus from the Marshalsea to Newgate. On the 17 
January 1678, she was tried at the Old Bailey for privately 
stealing a piece of plate from a Tavern in Chan'cery Lane ; 
and, being found guilty, received Sentence of Death, and 
was, accordingly, executed at Tyburn on Wednesday, the 
22nd of the said month, being her Birthday, in company 
with five Men Malefactors. She died a Eoman Catholick, 
and was, seemingly, a great Penitent. She carried a small 
Picture of her Husband Carleton, pinn'd on her Sleeve to 
Tyburn, and put it in her Bosom when she was going to be 
turned off, requesting it might be buried with her, which 
was complied with accordingly at St. Martin's in the Fields." 


Petitions from Prisoners — Prisoners on Accession of William iiT. — Sale of 
the Keepership — Metrical description of Newgate in 1705— Ned Ward 
on Newgate, 

Pitiful, most pitiful, is it to read, in 1670, a petition from 
ten dying souls in Newgate, for two, only two, days' reprieve, 
" to prepare their poor souls for everlasting bliss, since, if 
all the mountains were gold, silver and precious stones, one 
soul is worth more than all." 

Something might come of petitioning, if it were done 
persistently enough, as the following case shows. In January 
1671 we have the. first petition of Lewis Sulpice Jonquier, 
and Martin Carbonell, Frenchmen, now prisoners in 
Newgate, to the king, for reprieve till next sessions, and 
that they may be tried by a jury, half French and half 
English, according to the custom of England ; having been 
condemned to death, one for stealing lace, and the other for 
taking a sword, by a jury of seven English, four Walloons, 
and one Frenchman, and the interpreter being an English- 
man who did not well understand French, nor the petitioners 
understand him. 

Second petition of the same, asking for respite of the 
execution of their sentence till next term, it being 
contrary to English law, because five Walloons were put 
on the jury in place of five Frenchmen. (In French.) 

Third petition of the same, praying to be put in the 
general pardon for the next sessions, or ordered for the 
plantations, with proviso of recall if their innocence be 
cleared. Their sentence on an accusation of robbery was 
stayed, according to their former petition, because they had 
not a jury half French; and their accusers, who are 
doubtless the guilty parties, have fled into France, and are 
to be apprehended at request of the French Ambassador. 



Fourth petition of the same, for change of their sentences 
to transportation to Virginia, or service in the galleys. 
They were accused of theft, but there was fault in the 
choice of the jury : one of the jurymen says he did not 
concur in the verdict ; another, that he gave his vote by 
constraint, and that his conscience reproaches him for the 
death of the accused; and others, that they hardly knew 
what was the accusation. The woman, who accused them 
to free herself, fled, and is arrested ; but the Lord Mayor says 
a second trial cannot be granted ; recourse must be had to 
in the king's mercy. 

There is also a fifth, to the same effect, in French, and 
on 13th February a warrant was issued for including them 
next general pardon. 

On 17th March 1671, Thomas Eidley, a prisoner in 
Newgate, condemned to die, petitioned the king for a 
reprieve or transportation. This was referred to Mr. 
Justice Morton to report upon, and he said that Eidley was 
a very dangerous rogue, and had been previously convicted. 
Nevertheless, on 3rd May following, a warrant was issued to 
the recorder and sherifis of London, to insert in the next 
general pardon, Thomas Eidley, convicted of stealing a 
small sum of money, at the intercession of the Spanish 
Ambassador, on condition of his transportation. 

The truth is, that it was felt that the law of hanging for 
petty crimes was far too severe, and they were pardoned in 
large batches, on condition that they were transported to His 
Majesty's plantations. The poor wretches eagerly caught 
at the prospect of life, little knowing what their ultimate 
fate would be — a life of miserable slavery, of never-ending 
servitude and pain, in lieu of which they would gladly 
welcome death. Men were even committed to Newgate for 
exporting more than 100 lb. of wool, and had very great 
difficulty in obtaining a pardon. Still these brutal laws 
were kept in force for a century afterwards. 

But a time was coming when petty rogues no longer 
monopolised the occupancy of Newgate, for the very 
day that "William and Mary were proclaimed king and 
queen of England (13th February 1689), we find that Lord 
Chief Justice Wright was apprehended by Sir William 


Waller, at the Old Bailey, and carried before the Lord 
Mayor; and, being accused of having committed high 
misdemeanour, was committed to Newgate. On 27th 
March the keeper had to receive in custody, twenty officers 
of the army for high treason in levying war against the 
king; but they seem to ^ have had some privileges . allowed 
them ; for on 3rd April there was a warrant to the keeper 
of Newgate to allow Lieutenant Irwine to have access to 
Lieutenant Gawne, in the presence of a keeper, in order that 
he may have the said Lieutenant Gawne's assistance in making 
up the accounts of the Scots regiment, which had passed 
through the prisoner's hands. 16th April— Warrant to 
Major Eichardson, governor of Newgate, to permit Katfcerine 
Lucas to have access to Lieutenant Gawne, and to be with 
him as long as she usually has been. On 10th May there 
was a warrant to the keeper to permit Mrs. Mary Carr to 
see Alexander Gawne ; and on 15th May, another, to permit 
Mrs. Melville to see Lieutenant Gawne, to make even some 
accounts depending between him and Captain Melville, her 
husband. , There were many more Jacobites committed to 
Newgate, but I can find very few that enjoyed the privileges 
accorded to the lucky Gawne, except Sir Adam Blair, who, on 
1st August, was allowed to have an interview with Dr. Winde- 
bank. On 14th May, Mrs. Hambleton had access to Lieuten- 
ant Eobinson, and Lord William Murray and his sister were 
permitted to visit Lord Mungo Murray, and to remain with 
him a convenient time, without the presence of a warder ; 
and on 28th June, Lord Lovelace, Mrs. Eice Eudd, and Mrs. 
Vaughan, were allowed to see Captain Vaughan, a prisoner. 
In a little book, England's Calamities discovered, by James 
Whiston (London 1696. 4to), we learn a great deal about 
imprisonment for debt, and the treatment of poor debtors, 
and other prisoners. He says : " The Keeper's place of New- 
gate was lately sold for £3500. Now, upon such a 
prodigious sum paid only for the head tyrants jurisdiction 
of those stone walls and iron grates ; considering likewise the 
numerous turnkeys, sutlers, and all his subjanizaries, to be 
all fed and fattened also from the fees of their lower posts ; 
what annual income must that gaol raise, and how raise, to 
answer such a saucy purchase ? Why truly thus ; First for 


the criminal prisoners. If a thief, or housebreaker, would 
get unloaded of so many pounds of iron, or purchase a 
sleeping hole a little free from vermin, or with wholesome air 
enough to keep his lungs from being choked up ; he must 
raise those extravagant sums to pay for it, as can no ways be 
furnished but from theft and vice, supplied by his jades, or 
brother rogues abroad, who must rob and whore, to support 
him even with the common necessaries of life. Nay, instead 
of employing their time in amendment of life, and a religious 
preparation for their trial, they are forced to drink, riot and 
game, to curry favour with the gaoler, and support his 
luxury. Thus, a gaol, which should be a check to roguery 
and wickedness ; in a high measure, by its extortion and 
oppression, encourages it. And next, for the poor debtor 
committed thither (for it is the county gaol), he receives 
much the like severe treatment and hardships ; for extortion 
and oppression, like the grave, make no distinction. 

"]^ow let us inquire by what right the magistrates sell 
that Keeper's place, together with those of Ludgate, and the 
Compters. It is well known that those places, as well as 
all others, were, formerly, given gratis. Now, if they had 
any inherent power of selling them, it is presumed that the 
then magistrates were not so extravagantly generous to 
part with such a considerable feather in the City Cap for 
nothing, provided they had a title to sell. Then, as they 
took nothing, so we may reasonably suppose they could 
rightfully demand nothing for them, By what pretention, 
then, does the Chair demand it now ? We know of no 
donation or concession granted by Law to entitle them to 
such a sale. And, without such a donation, it is all but 
incroachment, iniquity, injustice and usuipation. . . . 

" Having been thus more particular in the gaoler's and 
Serjeant's case, we shall leave the reader to judge, what no 
less hard measures we daily groan under, without relief, 
from counsellors, attornies and clerks, &c., in their sphere 
of law ; when about £1500 is paid for a City Council, or 
attornies place (and divers other offices) which, by the 
same fore mentioned proportion of annual advantage, must 
raise near £500 per annum, to balance the excessive price 
they pay for them. And, though they may live at very 


extravagant rates, yet, if they enjoy their places for any 
considerable time, they leave great estates behind them. 
It is by this means that purchased cruelty grows bold, and 
plumes itself in its extortion ; being not only countenanced, 
but justified by the magistrate, who raises the value of an 
unlawful sale, because he finds a numerous sort of people 
thriving and doing well, by living and doing ill. It is 
example that corrupts us all; for how commonly do the 
under officers, gaolers, &c., excuse their barbarity and 
unreasonable exactions, in alleging that they have no other 
way to make up the interest of their purchase money? 
So that they are hereby forced to lay the whole design of 
their advantage upon the calamities of the miserable ; which 
inhumanity is too frequently connived at by the magis- 
trate, suffering justice to be over ruled by the persuasion 
of many golden temptations. A degenerate and unworthy 
practice ! quite contrary to the office of a good magistrate, 
whose duty and glory consist in curbing the growth of 
oppression, retrenching exorbitances, and in searing away 
the proud flesh of rapine and violence, not in selling 
impunity to the evil doer. It is this alone that steels 
and case-hardens a gaoler's conscience against all pity and 
remorse; giving him the confidence to demand extra- 
ordinary fees, and racked chamber rent from his prisoners ; 
or else, crowding them into holes, dungeons, and common- 
sides, designedly made more nasty, to terrify the prisoner, 
who, for preservation of his life, is thereby forced to part 
with his money ; or, there to be devoured by famine and 
diseases. This makes him let his tap-houses at such pro- 
dio-ious rates, that, where poor people ought to have the 
best and cheapest, they have worst in quality, and smallest 
in quantity, at excessive prices. Also farming his beds to 
mere harpies, and his great key to such pieces of imperious 
cruelty, as are the worst of mankind; to the eternal 
reproach of the City's honour, and scandal of the Christian 
religion; while the bloated patron himself, all the while, 
maintains his family in pride, and an imperious wife, or, 
perhaps, impudent mistress, in excess and luxury, with 
what he has unconscionably drained from the ruin of the 
unfortunate. But see, I prSy, whether will not these lewd 


and infamous precedents lead us, when even the common 
hangman, encouraged, no doubt, by these examples, will 
scarcely give a malefactor a cast of his office without a 
bribe ; very formally, forsooth, demanding his fees, and 
higgling, too, as nicely with him, as if he was going to do 
him some mighty favour." 

In 1705 was published A Glimpse of Hell ; or, A Short 
Description of the Commo?i Side of Newgate. It is in doggerel 
verse, and sometimes its language is of such a character 
as' to prevent reproduction. Speaking of Newgate the 
rhymester says — 

" Of which I will a Prospect give, 
And tell you how the Captives live, 
That on the Common Side are penn'd, 
Till Debts are paid, or Life doth end. 
They trouble not the th' Upholster's Trade, 
Their Beds are by the Joyner made, 
Of sturdy OaJc, that will not fail, 
Except a softer Board of Deal, 
That is reserv'd for Quality, 
For Softness, not Formality : 
And here they take a sweet Repose, 
With House of Office at their Nose. 
When Phmbus peeps, each lifts his head 
From Oak, or l)eal, no other Bed, 
And, at the Gate, receives his Bread 
And he that is quite void of Chink, 
Must stand the Cruise all day for drink. 
But, when the Kettle-Day appears. 
And Cook and Swobbera fill your Ears 
With Noisie Dinn, of this and that ; 
One swears the Bread drinks all the Fat ; 
Another swears it is the Sprouts ; 
So Argument producelh Doubts. 
But, when they cease their needless clack. 
And every one has got his Snack, 
Some hungry Souls, with scarce a Eagg on, 
Cut, slash, and eat, like hungry Dragon ; 
And grease themselves from Jaw to Groyn ; 
For Napkins are as scarce as Coyn ; 
And then their Progg for to digest. 
Friend Serj ant's Pot can have no Rest ; 
But Echoes from the Sashes go. 
Of Serjant! Serjant! heard at Boio. 


Pegg ! D you , here's ready Chink, 

We stay and starve for want of Drink : 
And must a prisoner want a Pot, 
Whilst he has ready Specie got ? 

Make hast, you , and bring the Smoak, 

and Pipes ; we have no Bemis to choak ; 
Nor Squeamish Ladies, but we have 
True Sons of Sots, and Hectors brave ; . 
Ccesars for Drinking, and we've Choice 
Of Ladies, Pritty, yet not nice. 

" When Pots on Pots are Multiply'd, 
Some merry, otliers stupifi'd. 
Some Laugh, some Cry, some Fight, some Play, 
Some Curse, some Swear, some Preach, some Pray ; 
Till, having Drank away their Reason, 
Their Wits begin to be in Season ; 
And every single Word they spoke. 
Stunk both of Logick, and of Smoak. 
In Learned Nonsense, Wit they smother, 
And no Man understands another. 
Yet from this Syllogistiok noise. 
There's this Advantage doth arise, 
That, whilst the Argument is hot. 
The Thief lays hold on Serjant's Pot, 
And, if a Pocket open lye, 
Some handy Spark his Skill must try. 
But, when the pilf'ring Theft appears 
They fall together by the Ears ; 
The Prison's then in Damn'd Confusion, 
'Twixt Major, Minor and Conclusion : 
Whilst all the Thieves stand grinning by. 
And do the Premises deny. 
Meanwhile, the Noise for to avoid, 
Some honest Debtors step aside 
Into the Cellar ; hoping there. 
To drink a Serious Pot of Beer ; 
Where scarcely down they had been set, 
But in the grand Banditti get ; 
With Bloody Oaths and gingling Fetters, 

And S s Proclaims, scour out the Debtors, 

Those piteous Rogues, that tast no Drink 
Out of my Bung, whilst they have Chink, 
Make Room for these brave Sons of Mars, 
The Debtors are not worth mine . 


" The Evening draws on, and now 
They're all as drunk as David's Sow, 
And all the Ready Rhinoe's Spent, 
And Every Soul's a MaUcontent, 
(For empty Poke and empty Pots, 
Give muckle Grief to drunken Sots) 
And Misses will no longer stay. 
But do appoint another Day. 

" When CerVrus shoots his Wooden Gun, 
Four Daimons in a hurry run. 
And at the Grate those Furies stand, 
Each with a flaming Torch in hand : 
These Demy Devils cry aloud, 
And suddenly disperse the Crowd : 
And every Felon do expell 
From Hall and Cellar, to his Cell. 
And now the Coast is seeming clear, 
And Debtors lock'd up in Tangier." ^ 

One would think that Ward, in his London Spy, would 
have a great deal to say about Newgate ; it would be such a 
congenial subject for his pen, but, for a wonder, he gives it 
but a passing notice. "After we had shot the Arch,^ we 
turn'd up a Street, which my Companion told me was the 
Old-Baily. We walk'd on till we came to a great Pair of 
Gates : it being a remarkable Place, according to my usual 
Custom, I requested my Friend to give me some further 
Knowledge of the matter, who inform'd me that it was 
Justice-Rail, where a Dooms-day Court was held once a 
Month to Sentence such Canary Birds to a Penitential 
Psalm, who will rather be choak'd by the product of Hemp- 
seed, for living Eoguishly, than exert their Power in Lawful 
Labour, to purchase their Bread Honestly. In this narrow 
Part of the Street (says my Friend) into which we are now 
passing, many a such Wretch has taken his last Walk ; for 
we are going towards that famous University, where, if a 
Man has a mind to Educate a hopeful Child in the Daring 
Science of Padding; the Light Finger'd Subtlety of Shop 
Lifting ; the excellent use of Jack and Crow, for the silently 
drawing Bolts and forcing Barricadoes ; with the Knack of 

^ Probably so called from its hot and stifling atmosphere. 
- Ludgate. 


Sweetning; or the most Ingenious Dexterity of Picking 
Pockets; let him but enter him in this CoUedge on the 
Common Side, and Confine him closely to his Study but for 
three Months; and, if he does not come out Quahfied to 
take any Degree of Villany, he must be the most Honest 
Dunce that ever had the advantage of such Eminent 


The Press Yard — Peine forte et dure — Spigot's Case — " History of the 
Press Yard " — Newgate in 1717 — The Ordinaries of that Time. 

In a New View of London, published in 1708, is an optimistic 
account of Newgate, which shows that the writer had no real 
acquaintance with his subject. " Newgate Prison is over and 
about that Gate : it is a very strong and spacious Building, 
where not only Criminals of all kinds, but Debtors (who are 
not Freemen) are secured : the former of these are generally 
so numerous (this being the chief Gaol both for this large, 
populous City, and for the County of Middlesex) that 
Sessions are held 8 times a year for the Execution, or Dis- 
charge of the Prisoners. ... It is very well governed, the 
Criminals and Debtors being kept separate; and all are 
called to Prayers and Sermon, at least every Lord's Day; 
and, for the better sort, who have the appearance of Gentry, 
there are very good Eooms and other Accommodation in the 
PreBs Yard, a place so called from a Press there, used for the 
pressing such obstinate Criminals as will not plead to their 
Indictments, &c." 

As a matter of fact, although the Press Yard was a place 
of exercise, it also included an apartment on each floor of the 
prison, supposed to be a portion of the keeper's house where 
discipline was relaxed and prisoners did pretty well as they 
liked for a consideration, which made it one of the keeper's 
most valuable assets. There can be little doubt but that it 
took its name from its being the scene of the terrible 
punishment of the Peine forte et dure, which was inflicted 
on those who refused to plead either innocent or guilty, or, 
as the law called it, " Standing Mute." Cowel says : " A 
prisoner may stand Mnte two manner of Ways. — 1 — When 
he stands Mute without speaking of any Thing, and then it 



shall be enquired whether he stood Mute of Malice, or by 
the Act of God ; and, if it be found that it was by the Act 
of God, then the Judge of the Court, ex officio, ought to 
enquire whether he be the same person, and of all other 
Pleas, which he might have pleaded, if he had not stood 
Mute. — 2 — When he pleads, Not guilty, or doth not answer 
directly, or will not put himself upon the Enquest to be 
tried by God and the Country." If such an one still 
continued obstinate the judge had but one alternative, to 
pass sentence upon him in the following form : — " He shall 
be sent back to the Prison whence he came, and laid in some 
low, dark House, where he shall lie naked on the Earth, 
without any Litter, Pushes, or other Clothing, and without 
any Paiment about him, save barely sufficient for decency : 
and he shall lie upon his Back with his Head covered, and 
his Feet, and one Arm shall be drawn to one Quarter of the 
House, with a Cord, and the other Arm to another Quarter ; 
and, in the same Manner, let it be done with his Legs ; and 
let there be laid upon his Body, Iron and Stone, as much as 
he can bear, or more ; and the next Day following, he shall 
have three Morsels of Barley Bread, without Drink, and the 
second Day, he shall have Drink three times, as much at 
each Time as he can drink of the Water next unto the 
Prison, except it be running Water, without any Bread : 
And this shall be his Diet till he die." It may well be asked 
how it was possible that a man should choose such a linger- 
ing and painful death to pleading and taking his trial ? 
The answer is, that if he did not plead, but chose this 
death, his goods could not be forfeited, and the man 
absolutely died a martyr's death for the benefit of his 
family. Major Strangeways thus died in 1657 at Newgate 
for the murder of his brother-in-law. 

I give a very graphic picture of the infliction of this 
punishment on William Spiggot, a notorious highwayman, 
who was at last caught. He refused to plead unless his 
horse was returned to him, but that was against the law, as 
by an Act of 4-5 William and Mary, the person who appre- 
hends a highwayman is entitled to his horse and furniture, 
unless the horse be stolen from some other person, when it 
must be restored. The judge recorded the fact, and, having 



received the dreadful sentence, Spiggot was taken and 
treated in accordance. He bore 350 lb. weight upon his 
breast for half an hour, but 50 more being added, he was 
unable to endure the pressure, and begged to be brought 
back to plead. This favour might legally have been denied 
him, but he was tried, convicted, and hanged, 8th February 
1721. This cruel punishment was abolished in 1772 by an 
Act of 12 George in., c. 20, "for the more effectual proceed- 
ing against persons standing mute, on their arraignment for 
felony, or piracy." 

William Spiggot under Pressure in Newgate. 

The anonymous author of The History of the Press Yard, 
published in 1717, evidently knew what he was writing 
about, and from him we learn very much of the internal 
economy of Newgate in his time. In the Introduction, he 
grumbles at the fees. The entrance fee, " which has of late 
Years been fix'd to Twenty Guineas, for the Liberty of 
having Eoom enough for two or three to walk in a Breast. 
The Gentlemen admitted here, are under a Necessity of 
paying Eleven Shillings each, per week, tho' Two, some- 


times Three, lie in a Bed, and some Chambers have three 
or four Beds in them, contrary to several Acts of Parlia- 
ment, which Oblige the Keepers of the Eespective Prisons 
to extort no more than Half-a-Crown per "Week for the 
Eent of every Chamber. The salvo for this unprecedented 
usage is, That the Press Yard, being no part of the Prison, 
but taken in as a part of the Governor's House." 

" I was very decently conducted in a Coach to the Place 
of my future Eesidence, called Newgate, there to reflect with 
myself on my past Indiscretion, and to cool my Heels till 
the Act for suspending the Habeas Corpus Act for a certain 
Time should be out of Force. It is easie to be judg'd that 
my Countenance was none of the pleasantest, when I found 
myself in the Lodge, encompassed by a parcel of ill look'd 
Fellows, that ey'd me, as if they would look me through, 
and examin'd every part of me from Head to Toe, not as 
Taylours to take Measure of me, but as Footpads, that 
Survey the goodness of the Clothes first, before they grow 
intimate with the Linings, and uncase the Travellers from 
the Incumbrance of them. Quoth a fellow with the most 
rueful Appearance that any Creature with two Legs ever 
made, to his Doxy, that I understood was a Eunner upon all 
Necessary occasions of the Gaol: — DoL, We shall have a 
Hot Supper to Night, the Cull looks as if he had the Blunt, 
and I must come in for a share of it, after my few Masters 
have done with him, and began to Eattle a Bunch of Keys 
in his Hand, to call for Half a Pint of Brandy to drink his 
new Master's Health ; which was immediately brought by a 
short thick Protuberance of Female Flesh, not less than five 
Yards in the Wast, and sent down Gutter-Lane instantly 
(as it well might) being little more than the quantity of 
Half a Quartern. Madam, said I to her, for I found the 
Beast had that Appellation given to her. Which are the 
Persons that are to take care of me ? Bring the Gentleman 
a Flask of the lest Claret, that ivhieh Mr Kent sent in last, 
quick, quick, Sirrah, was all the Answer I could have from 
her. Whereupon I repeated my Question, and desired her 
to pledge me, which she did in a Bumper, and reply'd, A 
bottle 0/ French White for the Gentlernan. You shail have it, 
Sir, as good as any in England, take the word of an honest 


Woman for it. Now this Honest Woman, as I was after- 
wards told, was an old Convicted Offender, one that had 
gone through every Degree of Iniquity, and by receiving 
Sentence of Death for the same, was arriv'd at the Zenith 
of Perfection in that Art and Mystery. Heavens, cry'd I to 
myself, Hoio justly am I punish' d for the sins of my Youth, 
in this Execrable Conversation ! while all Hands were at 
Work in putting the Glass round, for the good of the 
House, as they call'd it, and six or seven Flasks were 
consumed after this manner, and the value of as much 
more in Brandy, which was all paid down upon the Nail 
for, before I could get the Woman, or Monster above 
mentioned, to tell me what Appartment I was to have my 
Abode in ; and then she took upon her to whisper me, and 
say. Bear Sir, you seem^ to he a very Civil Gentleman, and 

will, no doubt, be Treated as such by Mr R se, and Mr 

R 1, who know how to distinguisJi Persons of Worth from 

Scoundrels. I gave her a Hearing, and thank'd her with 
a Bow, but neither of those Men of Compassion, at that 
juncture, came near me. 

" In the meantime, this pair of Irons, and that pair of 
Fetters, were handed about from one to the other behind me, 
and I had the mortification of being terrified with, A Pair 
of Forty Pounds Weight ivill be enough for him, spoke by way 
of Wisper, We ought to send to the Governour to knoio whether 
he is to be Hand-Cuffed. This made me ready to enter into 
a Treaty by way of Prevention, and again to enquire for the 
Persons who had Authority to manage it, which one or two 
sly Thieves about me, laying hold of, insinuated to me that 
it was in their Power to make an Interest as to my Irons ; 
and that, upon such and such Considerations they would 
serve me. Hereupon I, without any Hesitation, thrust the 
Purport of their Argument into their Hands, but found it 
very indifferently bestow'd from the Consequence of it ; for, 
instead of a Handsome Appartment which I was made to 
hope for through their suggestions, after I had been cajol'd 
into a Belief of all Civilities, by my Fat Tun-bellied Hostess, 
who applauded me for the Tallness of my shape, that bore a 
Eesemblance to that of a late humble Servant of hers, I was 
conducted to the Door leading out of the Lodge, into the 


Condemn'd Hold, where they told me I must stay till their 
Master's further Pleasure should be known, for they could 
go no further than the easing me of Irons, which they did 
not know but they might have Anger for, by Eeason of the 
Capitalness of the Crime whereof I stood accus'd. 

" The Condemn'd Hold, falsly suppos'd to be a noisome 
Vault under ground, lies between the Top and Bottom of 
the Arch under Neivgate, from whence there darts in some 
Glimmerings of Light, tho' very imperfect, by which you 
may know that you are in a dark, Opace, wild Eoom. By 
the Help of a Candle, which you must pay through the 
Nose for, before it will be handed to you over the Hatch, 
your Eyes will lead you to boarded Places, like those that 
are raised in Barracks, whereon you may repose yourself, if 
your nose will suffer you to rest, from the Stench that 
diffuses its noisome Particles of bad Air from every Corner. 
If you look up, you see the Order of Nature inverted, by 
having the Common Side Cellar over you, or if you cast your 
Eyes downward, all Things are equally surprising and un- 
natural : Here lie Chains affix'd to Hooks, and there Iron 
Staples are driven into the Ground, to bring those to a due 
Submission that are Stubborn and Unruly. The Walls and 
the Floor are all of Stone, and bear a Eesemblance to the 
Hearts of those that place you there, so that I may aptly be 
supposed to be seiz'd with a Pannick Dread at the Survey of 
this, my new Tenement, and to be very willing to change it 
for another, almost upon any Terms. 

" As this was the Design of my being brought hither, so 
I was made appriz'd of that Intent, by an unexpected 
Method : For I had not bewail'd my Condition more than 
Half an Hour, before I heard a Voice from above, crying out 
from a Board taken out of my Ceiling, which was the 

Speaker's floor, ' Sir, I understand that your name is , 

and that you are a Gentleman too well Educated to take' up 
your Abode in a Vault set apart only for Thieves, Parricides 
and Murtherers. From thence Criminals, after Sentence of 
Death, are carried to the Place of Execution, and from 
thence you may be removed to a Chamber equal to one in 
any private House, where you may be furnished with the 
best Conversation and Entertainment, for a valuable Con- 


sideration.' To this he added, ' That what he spoke was 
entirely out of good Will ; That he was a Prisoner, as I was, 
had suffer'd himself after the same Manner, and had paid 
such a Sum to be remov'd to better Quarters, which he 
thank'd God he enjoyed then, to his Heart's Content, waiting 
for nothing that a Gaol could afford him.' I gave implicit 
Belief to the Eascal (for I understood since, that he was 
nothing else but one of the Waiters, who had, before, 
pocketed my Money), and, being told the Conditions of 
Admission to the Press Yard, desired my pretended Friend 
so to bring it about, that I might Contract with the proper 
Officer as soon as possible. He promised that he would 
immediately give Notice ; and, in pursuance of his Word, 
about a quarter of an Hour after. Clang went the Chain of 
my Door and Bolts, and in comes a Gentlemanlike Man to 
me, of a very smiling Aspect, who told me, that he was 
extremely sorry for my ill Treatment by Eeason of his being 
out of the Way ; Tliat it was far from being in his Nature 
to use Gentlemen after an unhandsome Manner, and those 
who flung me into that place should be Trounced for it ; 
He, moreover, excused the want of Suitable Entertainment 
for Persons of Condition and Character in Prison Houses, 
and assured me that I should be instantly conducted to the 
Governor's House, who would take all imaginable Care of 
my PbGception. After this, he very kindly took me by the 
Hand to lead me down again into the Lodge, which I rightly 
apprehended as a Motion to feel my Pulse, and therefore 
made use of the Opportunity to clap Two Pieces, which he 
let my Hand go, to have a fast Grasp of in his. 

" Having thus taken our Seats lound the Table at the 
upper part of the Lodge again, and been accosted by the 
fat Hostess, who enquired what we would be pleas'd to 
drink ? We gave our Service to one another in a Glass of 
Wine, after the Head Turnkey, for that was the Person I 
had now to deal with, had rallied his Mirmidons (none of 
which were the Eogues that had taken my Money and were 
invisible) for making no difference between a Gentleman of 

my Appearance, and a common Offender, and Moll S ng 

had protested, she did all that was in the Power of Woman 
to do, to perswade those Eascals, Timer and another, whose 


name I forget, to let the worthy Gentleman stay in the 

Lodge till Mr B se should return from the Secretary's 

Office, because she knew him to be possess'd of such 
Humanity, as to accommodate him with proper Con- 
veniences. All this was nothing else but mere Cant: 
However, I was obliged to give Ear to it, and to believe 
that the Governor could not allow me a Habitation in his 
House, for so the Press Yard was called, under Twenty 
Guineas in Hand, and Eleven Shillings, afterwards, per 
Week, by reason of his paying Five Thousand Pound for 
the Purchase. Accordingly, having told down the Sum, 
and received a very sweaty Kiss from that Mountain of 
Courtesy, the above mentioned Tap Woman, who made her 

Complaints of Mr. B se with a great deal of sham regret 

for Eobbing her of one of her best Customers, I followed 
my Guide through Phcenix Court, into the Governor's House, 
where I had the honour of saluting and taking a Dram of 
Arrack, with the Great Mr. Pitt, who, as a mark of his 
Favourable Intentions to me, gave orders for furnishing me 
a Bed with clean Sheets, after I had pay'd the Woman that 
brought them to my Garret of a Chamber in the Press Yard, 
whither I was soon after convey'd through a Door with a 
great Iron Chain to it. Five Shillings." 

The remainder of the book is mainly taken up with 
descrintion, etc., of the Scotch Jacobites who were then in 
Newgate, and it is only occasionally that one comes across 
allusions to the habits and customs of the place, so that the 
knowledge is necessarily fragmentary. 

" I was no sooner let into this Enchanted Castle, but the 
Gentlemen that were Tenants of it, flock'd round me, to 
take a view of their New unfortimate Companion : Some 
were Drinking with Friends, some Eeading, others playing 
at Skittles, where there was scarce room to set up the Pins ; 
and a fourth sort were talking extravagantly of Politicks, 
and of the Progress their Friends made in the Insurrections 
of Northumberland and Scotland." 

The author found some one who kindly initiated him 
into the mysteries of the place, and informed him that 
" You will, according to Custom, about Seven or Eight of 
the Clock this Evening, be called upon to pay your Entrance 


Fee, which, formerly, was only Six Bottles of Wyne, and 
and Tobacco in proportion ; but, now, it is raised to Ten or 
Twelve, which, if you are straightened for money, will be 
scored at the Bar by the honest Tapster ; who, tho' he had 
lost several Hundred Pounds by that Method of Proceeding, 
is not discouraged from going on with it in Favour of un- 
happy Gentlemen." " Hereupon I told him that I was not 
so exhausted, but had more than sufUcient to discharge 
what the Cost of that would amount to, and continued my 
discourse to him over a. Pipe and Pot of Stout and Ale, for 
which I paid Sixpence, till Notice was brought us by a 
person in Grey Hairs, who then had the Keys of the Press 
Yard, that all things were ready for our Evening's Eefresh- 
ment, and that honest Tom, for that was the name of our 
Sutler in the Garrison, had carried the Bottles, Pipes and 
Tobacco, into our Refectory, called the Tap Eoom. . . . 
Therefore after all was brought in and paid for, according 
to ancient Custom, I readily agreed to be none of the first 
Starters, and continued Whipping of Sixpences to advance 
more Bottles, till our Chearfulness was turn'd into Drowsi- 
ness, and Merriment became the Occasion of Disputes 
between some of my Fellow Prisoners ; so that it was 
thought high Time by the most Sober amongst us, to break 
up, and retire to our Chambers, which was done accordingly, 
with the Ceremony of the Turnkey's locking each of the 
two Stair case Doors after us. 

" Being furnish'd with a Piece of Clay for a Candlestick, 
because I had not, at that time equip'd myself with one of 
Earthen Ware, of which our College Utensils chiefly con- 
sisted, and shewn the Way to my Chamber, by the Gentle- 
man I was appointed Chum to, I found myself in a large 
Eoom up three Pair of Stairs, with an Entrance to it 
through the Chapel: The Bars of the Windows were as 
thick as my Wrist, and very numerous ; and the Walls of 
it, which were entirely Stone, and had borne that Hue for 
above half the last Century, were bedaubed with Texts of 
Scripture written in Charcoal, such as Man is horn to 
TroiMe as the Sparks fly upward ; before I was Afflicted I 
icent astray, but noiv I have kept Thy Word, &c., and with 
scraps of Verses, and according to the Dispositions and 


Circumstances of the several Tenants that had been Inhabi- 
tants thereof. As for Beds, there were Steds for three, to 
be laid upon, made of Boards, but neither Flocks, nor 
Feathers enough in all to make one. The Table and Chairs 
were of the like Antiquity and Use ; and Potiphar's "Wife's 
Chamber-maid's Hat, at the Coffee House in Chelsea,^ had 
as fair a Claim to any Modern Fashion, as any one Thing 
in the Eoom, which were all of a piece with each other, yet 
thought Good enough (such is the insatiate Avarice of some 
Men) to be Eented at Ten Shillings per Week, exclusive of 
Twelve Pence for the necessary Woman, or Nurse, that 
cleans it. These were Objects unexpected, after I had been 
made to hope for better from those I had struck the Bargain 
with ; but these, with all their seeming Disadvantages, were 
easy to be borne when compared with those which my 
Chamber fellow told me I must have met with, had I been 
Lock'd up on the Master's side, where, besides a thousand 
other Inconveniences, I must have paid Eighteen Pence 
pe7- Diem for Leave to associate myself with Thieves and 
Pick-pockets, in a dark stinking Cellar. Upon these Con- 
siderations, and the Fermentation of the Wine, which had 
got the Mastery of every Thing else in my Pericranium, I 
neither minded the Hardness of my Bed, nor the Coarseness 
of the Sheets, but jump'd into them, like a Person over 
Head and Ears in the Water, to rid himself more quickly 
of his Pains ; and fell asleep with as much Contentment, as 
if I had taken up my abode in Paiadice, till the next 
Morning about Eight of the Clock, when I was called 
down into the Yard, to see some Passages I was yet a 
Stranger to. 

" It happen'd that some of the Gentlemen, among whom 
were two or three I had been in Company with the preced- 
ing Night, as well as others that were engag'd in their 
respective Chambers, had gone beyond their just Bounds; 

' Don Saltero's (John Salter's) coffee-house in the middle o£ Cheyne 
Walk. The curiosity here alluded to was No. 56 in the catalogue, and was 
described as "Pontius Pilate's Wife's Chambermaid's Sister's Sister's Hat," 
a relic which, Steele declares, was made within three miles of Bedford. 
Here also might be seen the Queen of Sheba's fan and cordial bottle, 
William the Conqueror's flaming sword, Robinson Crusoe's and his man 
Friday's shirts, and many other things equally authentic. 


and, for having exceeded the Eules of Decency in their 
Cups, were adjudg'd to pay the usual Forfeiture, which is a 
Groat in Drink, and very punctually collected by the Turn- 
key every following Morning ; and, at the Payment of which, 
such persons as think fit may be present : I, who was willing 
to have all manner of due Instruction relating to the Cere- 
moniale, gave into the Invitation, and made one among them 
without any Difficulty ; where, after the Names of the re- 
spective Criminals were call'd over, there was not a Culprit 
among them but what Pleaded Guilty, and, having paid his 
Fine, saw the Cobbler of Highgate and the Turnkey, assisted 
by other Servants of the House, swallow the Liquor it was 
pay'd in, down by wholesale. I was now got in Company 
again with the Hospitable and agreeable Person who had 
held me in Discourse the Day before, and whom I had too 
good Opinion of, not to be desirous of Discoursing with again, 
for my further Improvement. I found him Cooking some 
Water Gruel for himself, in the Tap Eoom ; and, indeed, a 
long Procession of Time had not only made him a perfect 
Master in that Art and Mystery, but of all other Culinarian 
Exercises, for he was a most excellent Caterer, and knew as 
well how to buy, as to dress, his own and those that would 
be his Messmate's Provisions. He very generously offer'd 
me part of his Breakfast, and I very readily accepted, it 
being proper for the Stomach in the Morning, after too hard 
an Exercise over Night with another Liquor. Now, the 
Gentleman I am speaking of, was a Valetudinarian to the 
last Degree, and tho' hable to frequent Indispositions by a 
long Confinement, and many Accidents in Engagements both 
by Land and Sea, fancied himself troubled with more Ail- 
ments than he really was. It was his Custome, as I have 
since learn'd, to be out of Bed one of the first in the whole 
College, and to walk four Miles, constantly, before he went 
to Breakfast. For this end he had measur'd out the Length 
of the Press Yard, and computed how many Stages, Back- 
ward and Forward, amounted to a Mile, by which means he 
walk'd as much Ground every morning, as if he had travelled 
from thence to Sampstead, which, for as much as I know, 
might have done him as much good, could he have received 
the Benefit of the like subtle and refin'd Air." 


This is about all there is regarding the daily life in 
Newgate, but I cannot refrain from relating one anecdote in 
the book relative to a former Ordinary. The writer had 
been conversing with one of the prisoners condemned to 
death, and had been listening to a rehearsal of his last dying 
speech, which wound up thus : " So much by way of Oration; 
here. Jack, do your Office decently and with dispatch, these 
Cloaths, Hat and Wig are yours. You will find Fifteen 
Shilhngs and some Grocery in my Pocket. Now, Mr 
Ordinary, you may sing the Psalm if you please, and I'll 
endeavour, as well as it is possible, to bear a Bob with you ; 
but let it be none of the Penitential Ones." 

" I admir'd at his Insensibility under his Circumstances, 
and had been further troubled with his Impertinence, had it 
not been the Ordinary's hour to attend upon the Condemn'd 
Prisoners, a Day or two after the Sessions; wherefore I 
went up with him into the Chappel, where the man indeed 
did according to his Sufficiency, read Prayers tolerably well, 
and gave such Exhortations as might have been of Benefit 
to the poor Souls they were directed to, but they had con- 
ceived such an indifferent Opinion of him from common 
Eeport, that all he said might be made applicable to Sir 
Roger L'Estrmige's thorough Passage of the Gospel, where it 
was made go in at one Ear and out at the other. 

" This occasion'd Matter of Keflection when I came 
down from Prayers, and made me condole with Florimel 
[a friend] who, tho' himself a Papist, join'd with me in my 
Sentiments of the great Want there was of an able Spiritual 
Guide for these poor Creatures ; who, instead of having the 
Doctrines of Faith and Eepentance truly inculcated into 
them, very often went out of the World, destitute of proper 

Helps. But Florimel assured me, that Mr. L n^ was a 

very Tertnllian in respect of some of his predecessors, and 
that however he might fall short of other Divines in 
Matters of Perswasion, he excell'd all that he had known 
possess'd of that Post, for Sincerity and Plain dealing. 
With that, he told me a Story of -one &nith, who, having a 
young Fellow that was Sentenc'd to Death under Exaniina- 

' The Rev. Paul Lorrain. 


tion in his Closet, cry'd, Well, Boy, now it's thy Turn to 
unhosome thyself to me: Tho%i hast hcen a great Sabbath 
hreaker in thy Time, 1 uurrant thee; the Neglect of going to 
Church regularly, has brought Thee under these nnha^ipy 
clrenmstanccs ? ' Not I, good Sir,' replied Gtilfrit, ' I have 
never neglected going to some Church or other, if I was in 
health. Morning and Evening, every Lord's day.' Nor did 
the Youth, in all probability, miss due attendance there, 
since it was his Business to frequent such Places of Eesort, 
for the better carrying on of his Trade, which was that of 
Picking Pockets. Row, said Orthodox Sam, for that was 
the Christian name of this great Pains taker in the Work 
of Confession, ??o Sabbath breaker ! Then thou hast been an 
abominable Drunkard, that is most certain ? ' Nor that 
neither,' said the Youth, ' I was never given to that Vice 
during the whole Course of my Life, having always had a 
mortal Aversion to strong Liquor from my Cradle, as my 
Friends tell me.' Sure the Boy's Mad, was the Question 
monger's Eeturn, / never had one Criminal under my Hands 
before, that was neither a Sabbath breaker, nor a Drunkard. 
Child, prithee recollect thyself, it will be better for thy Refuta- 
tion after thou art dead, for the World to know that thou 
diest a Penitent. But he could extort nothing Satisfactory 
from the Lad upon that Head : Whereupon he took him to 
Task concerning another Article, and insinuated to him. 
That no doubt he had been a flagrant Whoremaster : He saw 
it in his very Countenance, which told him. That the Lust of 
the Flesh had gaind the Predominance in him over his other 
Passions ? ' You are under a Mistake there, also, good Mr. 
Ordinary,' was the Youngster's Answer, ' I have not known 
what a Woman is, carnally, to this Day, as I hope for 
Salvation in the World to come.' With that, Sam began 
to be in a great Pet, and to cry out. Why the Devil's in 
this young Felloiu, without all manner of question. He tvill 
neither own himself a Sabbath breaker, a Drunkard, nor a 
Whoremaster ; the only thj-ee Topicks I can always enlarge 
tipon, and yet has the Impudence to say, he hopes to be 
saved ! Sirrah, yoxo must be one of these three, that you must ; 
therefore recollect yourself ; set all your Facidties of Remem- 
brance at work, or I shall be at a Loss to say any Thing of 


you in my paper. ' Then it's nothing with you to be a 
Thief/ cry'd the Criminal, 'I am sure I find it otherwise 
for I am justly Condemn'd for so being.' Get yoio out of my 
sight, said his Eeverence, such Case hardened Rogues as you 
ivould ruin the Sale of my Paper} I'll e'en v:rite you down 
OBSTINATE ; and so he did : But others afterwards came 
in, and made him amends by more ample Confessions." 

^ The Ordinary published, in special cases, a single sheet broadside of the 
behaviour and dying speeches of criminals. In the Brit. Mus. Catalogue 
the Rev. Paul Lorrain has about four columns to himself of these produc- 


The Master Side and Common. Side described — "Garnish" — Instances of 
"Garnish" — Its Abolition — Extortion in Newgate. 

The Press Yard was the aristocratic portion of Newgate, 
but the awful depths of the other parts of the prison have 
not often been disclosed. They are, however, to be found 
in a little tract, a very rare one, called Memoirs of the Right 
Villanov,s JOHN HALL (1708), in which the Master side 
and the Common side are described. 

"Now, as concerning the Humours of the Master-side, 
when a Scholar in Iniquity comes there by Virtue of a 
Mittimus, he is deliver'd up to the Paws of the Wolves, 
lurking continually in the Lodrje for a Prey ; where, as 
soon as he is adorn'd with a Pair of Iron Boots, and from 
thence conducted, (provided he has Gilt) over the way, to 
Hell ; for, really no Place has a nearer Eesemblance of the 
Eternal lieceptacle of Punishment than the Master Side: 
for the Cellar, (where poor relentless Sinners are guzzelling 
in the midst of Behauchery, and new invented Oaths, which 
rumble like Thunder through their filthy Throats) is a 
lamentable Den of Horror and Darkness, there being no 
Light but what they procure from the Help of one of that 
Greasie Company, whose Mystery is, by a subtle Metamor- 
phosis, to turn Mght into Day with what they get from 
Butcher and Kitchen Wenches' industrious savings. In this 
Boozing Ken (where more than Cimmerian Darkness dis- 
sipates its horrible Gloom) the Students, instead of holding 
Disputes in Philosophy and Mathematicks, run altogether 
upon Law, for such as are committed for House breaking 
swear stoutly they can't be cast for Burglary, because the 
Fact was done in the Day time ; such as are committed for 
stealing a Horse Cloath, or Coachman's Cloak, swear they 



can't be cast for Felony and Bobbery, because the Coach was 
standing still, not stopp'd ; and such as steal before a Man's 
Pace, swear they value not their Adversary, because they 
are out of the Eeach of the New Act against Private Stealing. 
Thus, with an unparallel'd Impudence, every brazen faced 
Malefactor is harden'd in his Sin, because the Law can't 
touch his Life. But, when Night has spun her Darkness 
to the Length of Nine a Clock, then they are hurry'd up 
before their Drivers (like so many Turkish Slaves) to their 
Kennels, which are join'd like so many Huts, as tho' they 
took their Order from Martial Discipline. In these several 
Apartments both Males and Females are confin'd till they 
distil a little Oil of Argentum for the Favour of going into 
the Cellar, to spend their ill got Coin with Speed, to make 
the Old Proverb good, Lightly come. Lightly go. 

" But now. Passing by that Part of the Master Side, into 
which Prisoners are brought upon real Suspicion of Debt, 
their Talk being altogether upon an Act of Grace, 1 shall 
proceed to the Humours of the Oojnmon Side. Those Scholars 
that come here have nothing to depend on but the Charity 
of the Foundation, in which Side very exact Eules are 
observ'd ; for, as soon as a Prisoner comes into the Turnkey's 
Hand, Three Knocks are given at the Stair Foot, as a Signal 
a Collegian is coming up : which Harmony makes those 
Convicts that stand for the Garnish, as One Knock, the 
Signal of the Baker's coming every morning, does those Poor 
Prisoners who, for want of Friends, have nothing else to 
subsist on but Bread and Water. Ati no sooner are the 
Three Strokes given, but out jump Four Trunchion Officers 
from their Hovel, and, with a sort of ill manner'dly Eeverence, 
receive him at the G-rate ; then, taking them into their 
Apartment, a Couple of good natur'd Sparks hold him, while 
the other Two pick his Pockets, claiming Six Pence as a 
Privilege belonging to their office ; then they turn him out 
to the Convicts, who hover about him (like so many Crows 
about a Piece of Carrion) for Garnish, which is Six Shillings 
and Eight Pence, which they from an Old Custom, claim by 
Prescription, Time out of Mind, for entring in the Society, 
otherwise they strip the poor Wfetch, if he has not where- 
withal to pay it. Then Cook Biiffian (that scalded the Devil 


ia his feathers) comes to him for Three Pence for dressing 
the Charity Meat, which Charitably dispos'd Persons send 
in every Thursday, whereon Earthen Dishes, Porringers, 
Pans, Wooden Spoons, and Cabbage Nets, are stirring about 
against Dinner time as thicl<: as Burnt Brandy and Brimstone 
Possets in Lucifer's Kitchen, whilst the sweltered Cook sweats 
in Porriging the Prisoners, who stand round him like so 
many poor Scholars begging at the Kitchen Door for CoUedge 
Broth ; but yet the caged Person is not clear of his Dues ; 
for, next. Two other Officers, who have a Patent for being 
Sivabhers, demand Three Halfpence apiece more for clearing 
the Gaol of its Filth, which requires the Labour of Sisiphus, 
and is never to be ended. Then, at the Signal of the Grey 
Pease Woman, which is between Seven and Eight, he is con- 
ducted down Stairs, with an Illumination of Links, to his 
Lodging ; and provided he has a Shilling for Civility Money, 
may lye in the Middle Ward, which (to give the Devils their 
Due) is kept very neat and clean, where he pays One Shilling 
and Fourpenee more to his Comrades, and then he is Free of 
the College, and Matriculated. 

" But the Lower Ward, where the tight slovenly Dogs lye 
upon ragged Blankets, amidst unutterable filth, trampling on 
the floor, the Lice crackling under their Feet, make such a 
Noise as walking on Shells which are strew'd over Garden 
walks. To this Nasty Place is adjoining the Stone Hold, 
where Convicts lye till a Free Pardon grants 'em Liberty 
from Tribulation ; but, not making good Use of Mercy, some 
tumbling headlong in again. This Low Dungeon is a real 
House of meagre Looks, and ill Smells ; for Lice, Drink and 
Tobacco is all the Compound. 

" When the Prisoners are disposed to recreate themselves 
with walking, they go up into a spacious Eoom, call'd the 
High Hall, where, when you see them taking a Turn to- 
gether, it would puzzle one to know, which is the Gentleman, 
which the Mechanick, and which the Beggar, for they are 
all suited in the same Form, or Kind, of Nasty Poverty, 
which is a Spectacle of more Pity than Executions : only to 
be out at the Elbows is in Fashion here, and a great Indecorum 
not to be thread bare. On the North, is a small room where 
the Fines lye, and, perhaps, as he behaves himself, an Out- 


law'd person may creep in among them : But what Degree 
of Latitude this Chamber is situated in, I cannot possibly 
demonstrate, unless it lyes 90 Degrees beyond the Ardick 
Pole ; for, instead of being dark here, half the year, it is dark 
all the year round. The Company, one with another, there, 
is but airing of Complaints, and the Causes they have to Eail 
on the ill Success of Petitions ; and, in this, they reckon there 
is a great deal of good fellowship. They huddle up their 
Life as a Thing of no Use, and wear it out like an Old Suit, 
the faster the better; and he that deceives the Time at 
Cards and Dice, thinks he deceived it best, and best spends 
it. Just by them lye the Tayigerines, in a large Eoom, call'd 
Tangier ; which, next to the Lower Ward, is the Nastiest Place 
in the Gaol. The miserable inhabitants hereof, are Debtors, 
who put such sorry Bedding they enjoy, upon such an Ascent 
as Soldiers lye when on Guard at the Tilt Yard. These poor 
Wretches are commonly, next their Creditors, most bitter 
against the Lawyers, as Men that have had a Stroke in assist- 
ing them there ; a 5at7t^ likewise they mortally hate because 
he makes them fear the King's name worse than the Devil's ; 
But, in this Apartment lye, besides real Debtors, such as are 
call'd your Thieving Debtors, who, having, for Theft, satisfied 
the King,hj being Burnt in the Face, or whipt, which is no 
satisfaction to the wrong'd Subject, their Adversaries bring 
an Action of Trover against them, and keep them there till 
they make Eestitution for things stolen. 

"Up One Pair of Stairs over them is Jack Ketch, his 
Kitchen, where, in Pitch, Tar, and Oil, he boils the Quarters 
of those Traitors who deserve to suffer for the several Sorts 
of High Treason. Near this place are adjoining several 
Eooms, which Prisoners hire that have a Mind to live 
retir'd, and, opposite to the Kitchen, where Man's Flesh is 
dress'd, is a lightsome Eoom, called Debtor's Hall, so named 
from such unfortunate Men lying there ; where every Man 
shews like so many Wrecks upon the Sea ; here the Eibs of 
£20 ; here the Euins of a good Estate, Doublets without 
Buttons, and a Gown without Sleeves ; and a Pair of Stairs 
higher, lye Women that are Fines and Debtors, thinking, like 
their suffering Companions below them, every Year Seven, 
till they get abroad. 


'' But the place which is most diverting to our Collegians, 
is the Cellar, whose Newgate Fashion of haviag all Tables 
Publick, all the Ale houses about Town now imitate ; here 
they sit in the pleasant Prospect of a Eange of Butts and 
Barrels; and the only Grievance herein, is the paying for 
Pipes and Candles, which are placed in Square Pyramidal 
Candlesticks made of Clay. As for the Nature of the 
Boozing Ken, it is as unchristian as the remotest parts of 
India, for here is no Faith (which St. Paul says is the 
Evidence of things unseen) unless the Sutler sees her God, 
which is the ready Speeie : However, to give her her due, 
she is very Pleasant and Good Condition'd to her Customers, 
which Qualities in a Woman of that Employment makes me 
think Miracles are not yet ccas'd. 

" Now, if there should be any great Tumult, or Uproar 
among the Prisoners, whose deepest Endearment is a 
Communication of Mischief, then a Bell which hangs over 
the High Hall Stairs, (to call the Turnkey, when out of the 
Way, by single Einging, to let People in and out,) is rung 
double ; and, at the Alarm, several Officers belonging to the 
Gaol come running up to quell the Mutiny ; which being 
appeased, the Eingleaders whereof, who are such High 
spirited Fellows that would sooner accept the Gallows than 
a mean Trade, are conducted to a low Dungeon, hung all over 
with Spider Texture, and are there Shear'd, or put into 
Bilboes and Handcufft; but, in case the Place of Punish- 
ment should be first taken up by any factious Woman, that's 
given to Pattin and Penknife, then they are punished in the 
Press Boom, where Men that stand mute at their Trial, are 
press'd to Death, by having their Hands and Feet extended 
out to Four Iron Eings fix'd to the Ground, and a great, 
heavy Press of Wood, made like a Hog Trough, having a 
square Post at each end, reaching up to the Ceiling, let up 
and down, full of Weights, by Eopes upon them, in which 
Torment he lyes Three or Four Days, or less Time, according 
as he is favour'd, having no Food nor Drink, but Black 
Bread, or the Channel Water which runs under the Gaol, 
if his fainting Pains should make him crave to Eat or 

" But now I am arrived at the Woman Felon's Apartment 


in the Common Side, where there are a Troop of Sell Cats 
lying Head and Tail together, in a dismal, nasty, dark Eoom, 
having no Place to divert themselves but at the Grate, 
adjoining to the Foot Passage under Newgate, where Passen- 
gers may, with Admiration and Pity, hear them swear 
Extempore, being so shamefully vers'd, in that most odious 
Prophanation of Heaven, that Vollies of Oaths are discharg'd 
through their detestable Throats whilst asleep. And, if any 
of their Acquaintance gives them Money, then they jump 
into their Cellar to melt it, which is scarce so large as Covent 
Garden Cage, and the Stock therein not much exceeding 
those peddling Victuallers, who fetch their Drink in Tubs 
every Brewing Day." 

On a previous page will be found the word "garnish,'' 
which was a tribute exacted from a new-comer by his 
fellow-prisoners. A few instances from well-known authors 
tell us about this exaction. Thus Swift, in his Tale of a 
Tub, says : " Like a fresh tenant of Newgate when he has 
refused' the payment of Garnish." The last scene of the 
fourth act of Sir Kichard Steele's comedy of The Lying 
Lover is laid in Newgate. " Bookwit, Latine, Simon, Storm, 
with the Crowd of Jayl-lirds. 

"Storm. But there is always some little trifle given to 
Prisoners, they call Garnish ; we of the Eoad are above it, 
but 0' t'other side of the House, silly Eascals that came 
voluntarily hither — Such as are in for Fools, sign'd their 
own Mittimus, in being bound for others, may, perhaps, 
want it : I'll be your Almoner. 

" Book. O, by all means. Sir. [Gives him Money. 

".Storm. Pray, Sir, is that your Footman ? 

" Book. He is my Friend, Sir. 

" Storm. Look you, Sir, the only time to make use of a 
Friend is in Extremity; do you not think that you could 
hang him, and save yourself ? Sn, my Service to you, your 
own Health. 

" 1st Pris. Captain, your Health. {Gives it to the next 

" Snd Pris. Captain, your Health. Prisoner. 

" Storm. But, perhaps, the Captain likes Brandy better. 
— So ho ! Brandy there — [L)7'inks]. But you don't, perhaps, 
like these strong Liquors — Sider ho ! — Drink to him in it — 


Gentlemen all. — But, Captain, I see you don't love Sider 
neither. — You and I will be for Claret then.— Ay, marry ! 
I knew this wou'd please you. [Briiihs.] Faith, we'll make 
an end on't. I'm glad you like it. 

" Turn-key. I'm sorry, Captain Storm , to see you impose 
upon a Gentleman, and put him to Charge in his Mis- 
fortune. — If a petty Larceny Fellow had done this. — But 
one of the lioad ! 

" Storm. I beg your Pardon, Sir, I don't question but 
the Captain understands there is a Fee to you for going 
to the Keeper's Side. [Book, and Latine give him Money.] 
[Exit Turnkey, Simon folloiuing.] Nay, Nay, You must 
stay here. 

" Snn. Why, I am Simon, Madam Penelopes Man. 

"Storm. Then Madam Penelope's Man must strip for 
Garnish ; indeed Master Siinon, you must. 

" Sim. Thieves ! Thieves ! Thieves ! 

" Storm. Thieves ! Thieves ! Why, you senseless Dog, 
do you think there's Thieves in Newgate ? Away with him 
to the Taphouse. [Pushes him off.] We'll drink his Coat 
off. Come my little Chymist, thou shalt transmute this 
Jacket into Liquor, Liquor that will make us forget the 
evil Day." 

Yet one more quotation, this time from Gay's Beggars' 
Opera (Act ii. scene 7). "Newgate. Lockit, Turnkeys, 
Macheath, Constables. 

" Lock. Noble Captain, you are welcome. You have not 
been a Lodger of mine this Year and half. You know the 
Custom, Sir, Garnish, Captain, Garnish. Hand me down 
those Fetters there. 

" Mach. Those, Mr. Lockit, seem to -be the heaviest of the 
whole sett. With your leave, I should like the further pair 

"Lock. Look ye. Captain, we know what is fittest for 
our Prisoners. When a Gentleman uses me with Civility, 
I always do the best I can to please him — Hand down I say 
— We have them of all Prices, from one Guinea to ten, and 
'tis fitting every Gentleman should please himself. 

" Mach. I understand you, Sir. [Gives Money.] The Fees 
here are so many, and so exorbitant, that few fortunes can 


bear the Expense of getting off handsomely, or of dying like 
a Gentleman. 

"Lock. Those, I see, will fit the Captain better— Take 
down the further Pair. Do but examine them, Sir— Never 
was better work— How genteely they are made— They will 
fit as easy as a Glove, and the nicest Man in England might 
not be asham'd to wear them. {He puts on the chains.] If I 
had the best Gentleman in the Land in my Custody, I could 
not equip him more handsomely." 

A man being stripped for "Garnish." 

The abominable system of garnish was done away with 
at last, as we may see in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1752, 
p. 239 B. "The Sheriffs of London have ordered that no 
debtor, in going into any of the gaols of London or Middlesex, 
shall, for the future, pay any garnish, it having been found, 
for many years, a great oppression." 

There was extortion all over the place, and a fee was 
exacted for everything. When the fettered prisoners were 
tried, if they did not give the jailers half a crown to be 
put in the Bail Dock, they were put, men and women 


together into the Hold, where a singular custom pre- 
vailed of a prisoner exacting a shilling a-piece from the 
youngest for Hold-money; and was any one lucky enough 
to be acquitted, he had to spend a Quit Shilling for their 


Highwaymen — Prevalence of Crime — The Hangman hanged — Peine forte et 
dure — Women's Interest in a Highwayman — Case of James Carrick — 
Blue Skin — Jack Sheppard, his Career, Escapes, and Execution — Sir 
James Thornhill paints his Portrait. 

Captain Maciieath, in the Beggars' Opera, is generally taken 
as the type of the rollicking highwayman, who knew his 
career was a brief one, and enjoyed life after his own fashion, 
not always attired in the gold-laced costume so familiar to 
us on the stage and in " penny dreadfuls," but still suffi- 
ciently well clad to pass muster. This is how Ward 
described him in Queen Anne's day. " Another you needs 
must take particular notice of, that pluck'd out a pair of 
Pocket Pistols, and laid them in the Window, who had a 
great Scar cross his Forehead, a twisted Wig, and lac'd Hat 
on ; the Company call'd him Captain ; he's a Man of Con- 
siderable Eeputation amongst Birds of the same Feather, 
who I have heard say thus much in his Praise, that he is 
as Eesolute a Fellow as ever Cock'd Pistol upon the Eoad ; 
and, indeed I do believe he fears no Man in the World but 
the Hang Man ; and dreads no death but ChoaJdng. He's 
as generous as a Prince, treats any Body that will keep him 
Company ; loves his friends as dearly as the Pvy does the 
Oak, will never leave him till he has Hug'd him to his Euin. 
He has drawn in twenty of his Associates to be Hang'd, but 
had always Wit and Money enough to save his own Neck 
from the Halter. He has good friends at Newgate, who 
give him, now and then a Squeeze when he is in full Juice ; 
and give him their Words to stand by him, which he takes 
as a Verbal Policy of Insurance from the Gallows, till he 
grows Poor thro' Idleness, and then, (he has Cunning enough 
to know) he may be hang'd thro' Poverty. He is well 


acquainted with the Ostlers about Bishopsgate Street and 
Smithfield; and gains from them Intelligence of what 
Booties goe out that are worth attempting. He accounts 
them very honest Tikes, and can with all safety trust his 
Life in their Hands, for now and then gilding their Palms 
for the good Services they do him. He pretends to be a 
Disbanded Officer, and reflects very feelingly upon the hard 
usage we poor Gentlemen meet with, who have hazarded 
our Lives and Fortunes for the Honour of our Prince, the 
Defence of our Country, and Safety of Eeligion ; and, after 
all, to be Broke without our Pay, turned out without any 
consideration for the dangers and difficulties we have run 
thro'; at this rate, Wounds, who the Devil wou'd be a 
Soldier ? " 

One would think that there would be very little doubt 
as to the profession of the following gentleman. "There 
is now in Custody in Her Majesty's Gaol of Newgate, in 
London, James Biswick, alias Bissick, a middle sized Man, 
Aged ab.out 40, having a high Bridge Nose, a thin Visage, 
pale Complexion, stooping in the Shoulders, was Apprehended 
the 25th of August last, suppos'd to have committed divers 
Bobberies on the Highway, he having in his Pockets a brace 
of Pistols loaded and prim'd, a Mask with Strings to it, and 
other cords: also a Jet black Mare 13 hands high, 7 years 
old, a Short Bob Tail, a Scar on the near knee, a Blood 
Spavin behind ; is supposed to be Stolen, is to be seen at 
the Swan and Hoop near More gate." 

Crime was fearfully rife in the time of the first three 
Georges, the lower classes being absolutely brutalised. Can 
it be wondered at ? Nobody cared for them, the Church 
was fast asleep; education, even of the most elementary 
kind, was never thought of for them; their homes were 
filthy ; there was no sanitation ; their manners were brutal ; 
their language awful. Add to this, that drink was very 
cheap, and what could be expected from such a state of 
things ? The punishment of death was no deterrent to 
crime ; what had they to live for ? Let us eat and drink, 
for to-morrow we die. They had no fear of God before 
their eyes, and no one preached to them of a hereafter 
either good or evil. 


After the battle of Preston fearful retaliation was taken 
on the unhappy Jacobites, and, in 1716, the judges had 
very little time to attend to common criminals, whose 
offences were of the ordinary description. There is a 
break in the monotony when we come to the case of John 
Price, the hangman, who was executed for murder on 
31st May 1718. Originally a thief, he took the place of 
a hangman deceased, and, one day being drunk, he assaulted 
and killed a woman. After his sentence, until his execution, 
he was always drunk. 

For some years there is very little to record about 
Newgate except anecdotes, etc., of its inmates. One 
Nathaniel Hawes, was tried at the Old Bailey, December 
1721, for assaulting Pdchard Hall on the highway, putting 
him in fear, and taking from him four shillings in money. 
When he was brought to the bar and arraigned, he refused 
to plead, and, being asked the reason by the Court, he 
answered that he had always lived like a gentleman, and 
would die like one. " The persons," said he, " who took 
me up, seized a suit of fine clothes which I intended to 
have gone to the gallows in, and, unless they are returned, 
I will not plead, for none shall say that I was hanged in 
a dirty shirt and ragged coat." The Court then informed 
him what would be the consequence if he stood mute, but 
he treated the admonition with the utmost contempt and 
defiance. Upon that, judgment was pronounced, and the 
officers were commanded to tie his thumbs, which they 
did in so tight a manner that the rope broke. That having 
no effect upon him, he was ordered to be pressed to death, 
and endured a load of two hundred and fifty pounds for 
about seven minutes, when, not being able to bear it any 
longer, he begged to be called to the bar, where he pleaded 
not guilty, but the evidence against him being clear and 
positive, he was found guilty, sentenced, and duly hanged. 

In 1722, John Hartley, a highwayman, or rather footpad, 
knocked down a poor tailor and rifled his pockets ; but 
finding he possessed no more than twopence, he was stripped 
naked, his clothes taken, and he was tied to a tree. Hartley 
was caught, tried, and convicted, but took such an extra- 
ordinary method to procure a pardon, that we, in these 


days, can scarcely credit. Either he was very handsome 
or had some insinuating way with the fair sex, for no less 
than six young women, dressed in white, went to St. James's 
Palace and presented a petition from him, in which he told 
His Majesty that, if he were pardoned, they would cast lots 
who should be his wife ; but it is said that the king replied 
that "he thought hanging would be better for him than 
marriage," and hanged he was. 

James or Valentine Carrick was the son of a jeweller 
who had made a fortune and retired from business, procuring 
for his son a commission as ensign in the army. The young 
man became very dissipated, left the army, and turned 
highwayman. Of course, in due time, he was caught, tried, 
and convicted, and while he remained in Newgate, his 
behaviour was equally singular and indecent, for he tried 
to pass his time in his last moments with the same gaiety 
as he had spent it in the former part of his life. Throngs 
of people, as was then customary, came to see him in New- 
gate, and to them, so that their curiosity should not go 
unrewarded, he told all the adventures of his life, with the 
same air of gaiety as if he were relating them to his boon 
companions. Naturally, his visitors told others of this 
rollicking prisoner, and greater crowds came to see him, 
and by receiving them all with the same bonhomie he 
mightily enhanced the fees of the turnkeys. He could not 
help, on one occasion, reminding the crowd of their 
extravagance in this matter. " Good folks," said he, " you 
pay for seeing me now; but, if you had suspended your 
curiosity till I went to Tyburn, you might have seen me 
for nothing." This was the manner in which he talked 
and lived until his death, his constant companions being 
some loose women, his former acquaintances, whom no 
persuasion or entreaty could induce him to banish, and 
who even accompanied him to the gallows. One account 
of his death says: " When he came to the place of Execution, 
he smiled upon, and made his Bows to all he knew. In- 
stead of praying with the rest of the Criminals, he employ'd 
that time in Giggling, taking Snuff, making Apish Motions 
to divert himself and the Mob. When Prayers were over, 
he told them the Sheriffs had made an Order, that no 


Surgeons should touch his Body. The Ordinary advised 
him to consider whither he was going. To which he 
answered that, being a Boman Catholick, he had receiv'd 
the Sacrament, and prepar'd for Death in his own Way ; 
and then, giving himself some pretty and genteel Airs (as 
he seem'd to think 'em) in adjusting the Halter about his 
Neck, the Cart was drawn away." 

Joseph Blake, alias Blueskin, is only famous (if it can so 
be called) by his connection with Jack Sheppard and 
Jonathan Wild, being one of the latter's gang. The only 
meritorious thing about him is that when Wild, who had 
betrayed him and was going to give evidence against him, 
came to visit Blueskin in prison, the latter suddenly sprang 
on him, and partially cut Wild's throat with a penknife. 
He was a brute, and deserved a brute's death. 

We now come to the notorious Jack Sheppard, whose 
escapes from prison have almost elevated him to the 
position of a popular hero, which Ainsworth aspired that 
he should fulfil. But Sheppard was not at all the ideal 
of the novelist, nor of the artist Cruikshank, who depicted 
him. Compare the lithe and crop-haired Jack, whom Mrs. 
Keely portrayed on the stage in conformity with the 
artist's conception, with this. (See next page.) 

Sheppard was a very sorry rogue: indeed, as far as I 
can see, he had but one redeeming quality — "pluck"; but 
there never was a felon in England whose adventures have 
made so much noise. He was born December 1702, his 
father being a carpenter, who died in 1703, leaving several 
children. His mother failed to get him into Christ's 
Hospital, but managed to give him sufficient education to 
enable him to read and write. He was apprenticed to a 
cane-chair maker, but, running away from him, he was 
helped by Mr. Kneebone, a woollen-draper in the Strand, 
who was very kind to him, and who got him apprenticed 
to Owen Wood, a carpenter in Wych Street, Strand. This 
kindness the ungrateful hound repaid by a burglary at his 
patron's house. He served Wood pretty well for about 
four years, when the seductions of the Black Lion alehouse, 
in Drury Lane, where he met with Elizabeth Lion, alias 
Edc^worth Bess, and another young lady named Poll Maggot, 



caused him to stray from the paths of rectitude. Under 
their tutelage, he committed several minor robberies, ne- 
glecting his work and quarrelling with his master until 
the time of his apprenticeship was up. Once free, he joined 
a gang of thieves, and began his brief professional career, 
until, in May 1723, he was sent to the Round-house on 
a charge of picking pockets. Unfortunately, Bess Lion 
coming to see him there, she was detained on suspicion 
of being a confederate. Next morning, being brought 

Jack Sheppard. 

before a magistrate, evidence was given connecting them 
with two felonies ; and they were committed to Newgate 
Prison, where, as they generally passed for man and wife, 
they were both confined in one room, called Newgate Ward. 
As he had the privilege of having his friends to visit him, 
they privately furnished him with implements for setting 
himself and Bess at liberty. Early in the morning of 25th 
May, having filed off his fetters, he made a breach in the 
wall, and took an iron bar and a large wooden one out of 
the window; then, having twenty-five feet to descend, he 


tied some blankets and sheets together, and fixing them to 
a remaining bar in the window, Bess ventured down first, 
and lie followed. They were now in the yard, and still 
had a wall of twenty-two feet high to climb. This they 
managed to do by means of the locks and bolts of the great 
gate, got over, and made their escape. 

Edgworth Bess and Poll Maggot helping Sheppard to escape. 

August 1724 finds him in Newgate under sentence of 
death, but such was the laxity of the guardianship of that 
prison that he managed to obtain files. At that time, in 
Newgate, there was, a httle within the lodge, on the left 
hand, a hatch, or open gate, with large iron spikes. This 
opened into a dark passage, which led to the condemned 
hold. The prisoners were permitted to come down to this 


hatch to speak with their friends ; and Sheppard, with his 
file, cut one of the spikes so that it would easily break off. 
In the evening, Edgworth Bess and Poll Maggot came to 
see him, so he broke off the spike, and thrusting his head 
and shoulders through the space, the women pulled him 
down, and he managed to make his escape undiscovered, 
although some of the keepers were, at the same time, 
drinking at the further end of the lodge. 

This exploit brings him to the top of his profession, 
and his brother rogues are proud to be recognised by the 
great prison-breaker ; but caution was necessary for a time, 
and he retired into the country for a little while. On his 
return, there was another robbery, another capture, and 
another lodgment in Newgate, where he had to wear heavier 
irons, which were stapled to the floor. His escape had 
made such a noise that, now he was retaken, curiosity 
brought crowds of people to see him daily; and he so 
diverted them with the recital of his rogueries that few 
went away without leaving him some money, which, as 
we have seen, was a very necessary item in JSTewgate. They 
were' too narrowly watched to be able to give him a file, 
chisel, or any implement which might facilitate his escape, 
on which his thoughts were always bent. 

At last he thought that the most favourable time for 
him to make an attempt at freedom would be when the 
Sessions were held at the Old Bailey, for he knew that,, at 
that time, the keepers would be so busy in attending the 
Court that they would have but little leisure to look after 
him. On Thursday, 15th October, about two in the after- 
noon,_one of the keepers took him his dinner; and, as usual, 
examined his irons, found all fast, and so left him.. He had 
hardly been gone an hour when Jack set to work. The 
first thing he did was to slip his hands out of the hand- 
cuffs, and then, with a crooked nail, which he found upon 
the floor, he opened the great padlock that fastened his 
chain to the staple. Next he twisted asunder a small link 
of the chain between his legs, and, drawing up his feet-locks 
as high as he could, he made them fast with his garters. 
He attempted to get up the chimney, but had not advanced 
far when his progress was stopped by an iron bar that went 


across it. Descending, he got a piece of his broken chain, 
and with it picked out the mortar, and, removing the stones 
which confined the bar, managed to release it, and thus 
became possessed of an instrument which much facilitated 
his escape, an iron bar, an inch square and nearly three feet 
long. With this he made so large a breach that he got 
into the Bed room, which was over the Castle. Here he 
found a great nail, which was another very useful imple- 
ment. The door of this room had not been opened for 
seven years; but in less than seven minutes he wrenched 
off the lock, and got into the passage leading to the chapel. 
Here he found a door bolted on the other side, whereupon 
he broke a hole through the wall, and pushed the bolt back. 
Coming now to the chapel door, he broke off one of the iron 
spikes which surmounted it, which he kept for further use, 
and so got into a passage between the chapel and the lower 
leads. The door of this passage was very strong, and 
fastened with a great lock, and what was worse, the night 
had overtaken him, and he was forced to work in the dark. 
However, in half an hour, with the help of the great nail, 
the chapel spike and the iron bar, he forced off the box of 
the lock, and opened the door, which led him to another 
yet more difficult ; for it was not only locked, but barred 
and bolted. After he had tried in vain to make this lock 
and box give way, he wrenched the fillet from the main 
post of the door, and the box and staples came off with it. 
This was at eight o'clock in the evening. There was yet 
another door betwixt him and the lower leads; but, as it 
was only bolted on his side, he opened it easily, and, mount- 
ing to the top of it, he got over the wall, and so to the 
upper leads. 

His next consideration was how to get down ; and look- 
ing round him, and finding that the top of Turner's house, 
adjoining Newgate, was the most convenient place to alight 
upon, he resolved to descend by that way ; but as it would 
be a dangerous leap, he went back to his cell, and fetched 
a blanket that he used to lie on. This he made fast to the 
wall of Newgate with the spike he obtained in the chapel ; 
and, sliding down, dropped upon the leads of the house, just 
as St. Sepulchre's clock was striking nine. Luckily for him. 



the garret door leading on to • the leads was unfastened, so 
that he got in and crept softly down one pair of stairs, when 

^n&ractC^e^nm^ ^^ Holes SHEPHERD ^^^y^^^chimn 

^c^^o /'^e^ateOa>^lS^j^ H Orbi^^^^mla/kr.itr^ f y^H^ 

" An exact representation of ye Holes Shepherd made," etc. 

he heard some people talking in a room below. His irons 
jingling, a woman started, and said, "Lord! what noise is 


that ? " Somebody answered, " The dog or cat ; " and 
Sheppard thought it best to return to the garret; when, 
having waited there for about two hours, he ventured down 
a second time, only to find a gentleman taking leave of the 
company, and a maid lighting him downstairs. As soon as 
she had returned, and had shut the chamber door, he made 
the best of his way to the street door, unlocked it, and so 
made his escape, it being then about midnight. It is un- 
certain where he lodged the remainder of the night, or 
rather morning, or when or how he got the fetters off his 
legs ; but on 1st November not only his feet-locks hut his 
handcuffs were found at the lodgings of two of his female 
acquaintances, in Cranbourne Alley. 

The first use he made of his liberty was to break into a 
shop in Monmouth Street, and steal some wearing apparel ; 
and on the 29th October he committed a burglary at the 
house of a pawnbroker in Drury Lane, whence he took a 
sword, a suit of clothes, several snuff-boxes, rings, and 
watches, and other goods to a considerable value. And now 
the poor foolish rogue resolved to appear dressed like a 
gentleman among his old friends in Drury Lane and Clare 
Market. He strutted about in a fine suit of black, a light 
tie wig, and a ruffled shirt, with a silver-hilted sword by his 
side, a diamond ring on his finger, and a gold watch in his 
pocket, notwithstanding he knew there was a diligent 
search being made after him. On 31st October he dined 
with two of his female friends at a public-house in Newgate 
Street, where they were very merry together. About four 
in the afternoon they took coach, and, drawing up the 
windows, drove through Newgate to the Shears ale-house, 
near Clare Market, whence, in the evening, he sent for his 
mother, and treated her with part of three quarterns of 
brandy. As she knew the danger he was in, she advised 
him to take care of himself, and keep out of the way ; but 
Jack had been drinking pretty hard, and was grown too 
wise to take counsel, and too vaUant to fear anything ; and 
leaving his mother, he strolled about in the neighbourhood 
from ale-house to gin-shop till about twelve o'clock, when 
he was apprehended by means of an ale-house boy, who had 
accidentally seen him. The poor rogue was so befuddled as 


to be ineajable of :^' any leastony;: and so Le was 

'jijc* nior<; ';.oiiv';jei to Lir yivy^i \i<m.h., V^-/'' _'iVr vhete he 
"■'■a- cordially received, and veiy Jj'ravilr i^o;,t-. 

J:^ aoeordanee ^itL tlie fa-. Won of tLe tJjj-j*;, L^ beM 
]tr%s Id his prJiox, and had a i"%i,Ar nnmber of rfeitoiis 
than before, am'jij.:? theiij u'jt a few pei'^ons c* j-ajj}: and 

iiAti'jui. He was e~^i vain of \ie;L2 tie oV,^rt <a th^ 
"rmoHitj, and ispir^d t-o auaiLW tL^m. Jft wm full of jokca, 
ir.u t.old t?je of Lk ':r.ziy-ir. and a.':v^-ii--T«. ---■■;i 2iest 
5;r-i K^li;?., wijlic-: auy e«Bj . r. crtian far his ita&ietdii,lmt 
i'lo^ylr^i- in than. He did nwi, h-i -'Te-er, f .? ve: to eijtr^- 
tLc'-^ of }ji: nofc'le vLtitoK, whorj. he tboi^bt liad ;.-.t/ererl. t/j 
:ij*ve?ie'e with the l^r.^- fj«r his piiofim, whieh he h^^be 



egregious vanity to hope for, merely upon his merit of heing- 
au extmordiuary rogue. Ou the 10th of Xovember he was 
cai-ried to the King's Bench bar at Westminster, where the 
record of his conviction heing read, and an affida^ it made 
that he was the same John Sheppard mentioned in that 
record, Mr. Justice Powis awarded sentence of death against 
him, and a Eule of Court was made for his execution ou the 
Monday foUowing. He then returned to Xewgate, where 

Leg lions vrom by Jack 

Sheppard before His 


Leg-Irons worn bv Jack 

Sheppard after Re- 


every care was taken to prevent his escaping again, if the 
fettei-s shewn at the prison as his are genuine. 

The fatal day (16th Xovember) came, but Jack had still 
some hopes of eluding justice. Somebody had given him 
a penknife ; this he put, open, in Ms pocket, with the point 
upwards, and (as he told one whom he thought he could 
trust') his design was to lean torwanl in the cart, and cut 
asunder the cord that tied his hands together; and then 


when he came near little Turnstile, which was one of the 
worst slums in London, to throw himself over among the 
crowd, and run through the narrow passage, where the 
officers could not follow on horseback, but must be forced 
to dismount ; and, in the meantime, doubted not, but, by the 
mob's assistance, he should make his escape. But this 
ingenious scheme was discovered in the Press Yard at 
Newgate, just as he was going into the cart, though it was 
not prevented without some loss of blood; an officer, too 
incautiously examining Jack's pockets, unluckily cut his 
own fingers. Sheppard, like a good many others, believed 
in resuscitation after hanging, and earnestly desired some of 
his acquaintances that, after his body had been cut down, 
they would, as soon as possible, put him into a warm bed, 
and try to bleed him, for he said he believed that if such 
care was taken, they might bring him to life again. If this 
was done, it did not succeed, for he was duly hanged and, 
being small and a light weight, died with great difficulty, 
much pitied by the mob. When he had hanged for about a 
quarter of an hour, he was cut down by a soldier, and 
delivered to his friends, who carried him to the Barley Moiv 
in Long Acre, and he was buried the same evening in the 
churchyard of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields. He was in the 
twenty-third year of his age. 

There are many lives of this rogue, and much literature 
respecting him ; he was brought on the stage in the Panto- 
mime of Harlequin Sheppard, which was acted, in 1724, at 
Drury Lane: and there was a farce, in three acts, called 
The Prison Breaker, or the Adventures of John Sheppard ; but 
it was never acted at any of the theatres; and, after it 
had lain long neglected, it was intermixed with songs and 
catches, at Bartholomew Fair, under the title of The Quaker's 
O-pera. Sir James Thornhill painted his portrait, which 
afterwards was engraved in mezzotint. On this picture, 
the following lines appeared in the British Journal of 28th 
ISTovember 1724: — 

" Thornhill, 'tis thine to gild with Fame 
Th' obscure, and raise the humble Name ; 
To make the Form elude the Grave, 
And Sheppard from Oblivion save. 


" Tlio' Life in vain the Wretch implores, 
An Exile to the farthest Shores, 
Thy Pencil brings a kind Reprieve, 
And bids the dying Robber live. 

" This Piece to latest Time shall stand. 
And shew the Wonders of thy Hand. 
Thus, former Master's grac'd their Name, 
And gave egregious Robbers Fame. 

"Appelles Alexander drew, 
Gcesar is to Aurellius due, 
Cromwell in Lely's Works doth shine, 
And Sheppard, Thornhill, lives in thine." 


Peachum in the Beggars' Opera — Jonathan Wild, his Career, Ways of 
Dealing, Trial, and Execution — His Body and Skeleton. 

If Jack Sheppard was a foolish rogue, Jonathan Wild was 
the vilest miscreant unhung at that time, a receiver of stolen 
goods, informer, trainer and harbourer of thieves, whom he 
first encouraged, and then sold to justice for the blood- 
money of £40 each — in fact, a deeper dyed villain can 
scarcely be imagined. We can fancy we hear him talking 
to himself in Peachum' s soliloquy in the Beggars' Opera. 

" But 'tis now high time to look about me for a decent 
Execution against next Sessions. I hate a lazy Eogue, by 
whom one can get nothing till he's hang'd. A Eegister of the 
Gang — {Beads) Crook-finger'd Jack. A Year and a half in 
the Service ; Let me see how much the Stock owes to his 
Industry; one, two, three, four, five Gold Watches, and 
seven Silver ones. A mighty clean handed Fellow ! Sixteen 
Snuff boxes, five of them true Gold. Six dozen of Handker- 
chiefs, four silver hilted Swords, half a dozen of Shirts, 
Three Tye Perriwigs, and a Piece of Broad Cloth. Con- 
sidering these are only the Fruits of his leisure Hours, I 
don't know a prettier fellow, for no man alive hath a more 
engaging Presence of Mind upon the Eoad. Wat Dreary 
alias Brown Will, an irregular Dog, who hath an underhand 
way of disposing of his Goods. I'll try him only for a 
Sessions or two longer, upon his good Behaviour. Harry 
Padington, a poor pebty larceny Eascal, without the least 
Genius ; that Fellow, though he were to live these six 
Months, will never come to the Gallows with any Credit. 
Slippery Sam ; he goes off the next Sessions, for the Villain 
hath the Impudence to have views of following his Trade as 
a Taylor, which he calls an honest Employment. Mat of the 


Mint; 'listed not above a Month ago, a promising sturdy- 
Fellow, and diligent in his way; somewhat too bold and 
hasty, and may raise good Contributions on the Publick, if 
he does not cut himself short by Murder. Tom Tipple, a 
guzzling soaking Sot, who is always too drunk to stand him- 
self, or to make others stand. A Cart is absolutely necessary 
for him." 

Jonathan Wild was born at Wolverhampton about the 
year 1682. On leaving school, he was apprenticed to a 
buckle maker at Birmingham. There he married; but, 
deserting his wife and infant son, he came to London, where 
he soon ran into debt, and was imprisoned in Wood Street 
Compter. In that place he met with his future helpmate, 
Mary Milliner, a thoroughly bad woman, who had gone 
round the whole circle of vice, knew all the evil ways of 
the town, and most of the felonious inhabitants thereof. In 
a short time Jonathan was intimate with all the thieves of 
note, and master of their secrets; he knew their haunts, 
where they worked, and how they disposed of their plunder, 
so that he held their lives in his power, and, from a con- 
fidant, he became their master. At one time, thieves could 
easily dispose of their booty, without risk, and at remuner- 
ative prices, but an Act passed 5-6 Anne, c. 31, considerably 
hindered this business. Those few who continued as 
receivers were obliged to act very cautiously ; and, as they 
ran great risks, they insisted on such extravagant profits, 
that thieving became unremunerative. Then Wild matured 
his plan of restoring the stolen goods to their rightful owner 
for a consideration, by which the thieves got more than if 
they sold them to a receiver, and Jonathan received his 
commission, although he was very careful not to ask for 
any money from those whose. goods were restored. He 
blackmailed thieves, and when any objected, he was very 
soon laid by the heels by Jonathan Wild the thief-taker, 
who went about with a small silver staff, whose head was a 
crown, and duly hanged, the thief-taker getting a reward of 
£40 for the conviction. It was known that he encouraged 
felons, and traded in stolen goods, and in the year 1718, an 
Act was passed, "Por the farther preventing Eobberies. 
Burglaries and other Felonies, and for the more effectual 


transportation of Felons "; by a clause in which it was made 
felony for any persons to take a reward under pretence of 
restoring stolen goods, except they prosecuted the felons who 
stole them. 

One would have thought that this would have ruined his 
business, but he was equal to the occasion. When people 
had been two or three times to him, in quest of what they 
had lost (and there is a curious print in the Library of the 
Corporation of the City of London, entitled " The London 
rairey Shows, or Who'll step into Ketch's Theatre ? " shewing 
Jonathan surrounded by persons soliciting to obtain the 
property stolen from them, etc.), he would tell them that 
he had made inquiry after their goods, and had received 
information, that if such a sum of money was sent to such 
a place, the goods would be delivered to the person who 
carried it. This being agreed to, a porter was called, the 
money put into his hands, and directions given him to go 
and wait at the corner of the street. When he came to the 
place appointed, or, perhaps, on his way thither, he was met 
by somebody who delivered him the goods upon his paying 
the money. At other times, perhaps, as the owners of the 
goods were going home, they would be overtaken by a 
stranger, who put the stolen property into their hands, 
together with a note, in which was written the sum of 
money they were to pay for them. But, in some hazardous 
cases, he put the initiative on the people themselves, by 
getting them to advertise the things they had lost, offering a 
reward to anyone who would bring them to Jonathan Wild, 
who was thereby empowered to receive them without 
asking questions. In the two former cases, he neither saw 
the thief, nor received the goods, nor took the money ; and, 
in the latter case, the principal part was the act of the loser, 
and he only appeared in the light of a friend, whose honour 
could be safely trusted, and there was no necessity to 
suppose that he was a confederate with the thief. If the 
person whose goods were restored desired to know what was 
his fee, he would reply, with an air of indifference, that it 
was as they pleased ; he demanded nothing ; he was glad it 
was in his power to have been of any service ; what he had 
done was from a principle of doing good, and without any 

••\ ; 5 i ~? -^ S 

>^ ; 5 5 .'" 'i ■^, 

-s ^^ ^ v^ -v - 

^ UHi 






a,^ '-s : 







;• ^'"'^ -' 



5 r-^- >3 -J 


J- 5 ^ -^ ^ 







views of self interest ; and, if anyone thought fit to make 
him a present, it would be their own act, out of their own 
generosity, and that he should not take it as a reward, but 
merely as a favour. 

But he dealt extensively in stolen goods, so much so, 
that he bought a sloop (Captain Eoger Johnson), to trade 
to Holland and Flanders, in which were carried over gold 
watches, rings, snuff-boxes, and articles of plate, and some- 
times bank notes, the proceeds of some mail robbery. His 
chief-trading port was Ostend, whence Bruges, Ghent, 
Brussels, and other large towns were easily accessible, and a 
market existed for his wares. A lading of Hollands and 
other goods was then shipped, and on the return to England, 
the custom-house was never troubled. 

An epitome of his villanies is to be found in some sworn 
informations handed in at his trial. — 1. That for many years 
he had been a confederate with great numbers of highway- 
men, pickpockets, housebreakers, shoplifters, and other 
thieves. 2. That he had formed a kind of corporation of 
thieves, of which he was the head, or director; and that, 
notwithstanding his pretended services in detecting and 
prosecuting offenders, he procured such only to be hanged 
as concealed their booty, or refused to share it with him. 
3. That he divided the town and country into so many districts, 
and appointed distinct gangs to each, who regularly accounted 
to him for their robberies. That he had also a particular 
set to steal at churches in tune of divine service ; and, 
likewise, other moving detachments to attend at court, on 
birthdays, balls, etc.; and at both Houses of Parliament, 
circuits, and country fairs. 4. That the persons employed 
by him were, for the most part, felons convict, who had 
returned from transportation before the time for which they 
were transported was expired; and that he made choice of 
them to be his agents, because they could not be legal 
evidence against him, and because he had it in his power to 
take from them what part of the stolen goods he thought fit, 
and otherwise use them ill, or hang them, as he pleased. 
5. That he had from time to time supplied such convicted 
felons with money and clothes, and lodged them in his own 
house, the better to conceal them, particularly some, against 


whom there are now informations for coijni(,'rJ'<;iting and 
diminishing broad piecew and guineas. 6. That he had not 
only been a receiver of stolen goods, as well as of writings of 
all kinds, for nearly fifteen years past, but had frequently 
been a confederate,and robbed along with the above-mentioned 
convicted felons. 7. That, in order to carry on these vi)'; 
practices, to gain some credit with the ignorant multitude, 
he usually carried a short silver staff, as a badge oi authority 
from the Government, which he UKed to produce, when he 
himself was concerned in robbery. 8. That he had under 
his care and protection several warehouses for receiving and 
concealing stolen goods ; and also a ship for carrying off jewels, 
watches, and other valuable goods to Holland, where he had 
a superannuated thief for his factor. 9. ITiat he kept in pay 
several artists to make alterations, and to transform watcbes, 
seals, snuff-boxes, rings, and other valuable things, that they 
might not be known, several of which he used to present to such 
perBons as he thought might be of service to him. 10, That 
he seldom, or never, helped tbe owners to the notes and papers 
they had lost, unless he found them able exactly to specify 
and describe tberu, and then often insisted orj more than half 
their value. 11. And lastly, it ajjj^ears that he has often 
sold human blood, by procuring false eviderjce to sw';ar 
persons intfj facts they were not guilty of; sometimes to 
I>revent them from being eviderjce against himself, arid, at 
other tijucB, for the sake of the great reward given by tbe 

Eut justice, though tardy, had liim at last; and on l-vtli 
May 172.5, he was indicted at the Old Bailey for privately 
stealing in the shop of Oiitherine Btetham, in the parish of 
St. Andrew, HolborTi, -50 yards of laf;e, value £40, the goods 
of Catherine Stetliam, on 22nd January 172.5. i give the 
evidence of one witness, as illustrating Wild's method of 
dealing with thieves : — 

" llmry Kelly sworn. ' On Friday, the 22nd of .January 
last, I went to visit .Air,-;. .Johnston, who tben lived at the 
prisoner's houBc. I found her at home, and we drank a 
quaiifim of gin together. By and by, in wmes I'eg 
Murj)hey, with a j»air of broca<le<l shoes and clogs, and 
makes a jtresent of them to ]M;vJitrn Wild, tbe prisouer's 


wife. The prisoner was in company with us, at the same 
time, and when we had drank two, or three quarterns more, 
Murphey and I got up to go away together. He asked us 
which way we were going ? I said " To my lodging at the 
Seven Dials." "I suppose,'' says he, "you go along 
Holbourn !" AVe answered " Yes." " Why, then," says he, 
" I'll tell you what. — There's an old blind bitch that keeps a 
shop within twenty yards of Holbourn bridge, and sells fine 
Flanders lace ; and her daughter is as blind as herself ; Now, 
if you'll take the trouble of calling upon her, you may speak 
with a box of lace. I'll go along with you, and show you 
the door.'" 

"Court. 'What do you understand by speaking with a 
box of lace V 

" Kelly. ' To speak with a thing is to steal it. — So we 
agreed, and the prisoner, and I, and Murphey, went 
together, tOI we came within sight of the shop, and then 
he pointed and showed us which it was, " And," says he, " do 
you go, and I'U wait here, and bring ye off, if any disturb- 
ance should happen." Murphey and I went in, and turned 
over several parcels of lace, but could not find that which 
would please us, for it was our business to be mighty nice 
and difficult; this piece was too broad, and that was too 
narrow, and t'other not fine enough. At last the old woman 
stepped up stairs to fetch another piece ; and, in the mean- 
time, I took a tin box of lace and gave it to Murphey, who 
put it under her cloak. The old woman came down again 
with another box, and showed us several more pieces ; but 
we could not agree about the price, and so we came away 
and found the prisoner where we had left him, and told 
him we had spoke. We all went back to his house, where 
we opened the box, and found eleven pieces in it. He asked 
us if we would have ready money, or stay till an advertise- 
ment came out ? Stock was pretty low with us at that 
time, so we chose ready money, and he gave us three 
guineas and four broad pieces. " I can't afford to give any 
more," says he, " for she's a hard mouthed old bitch, and I 
shall never get above ten guineas out of her." I took the 
three guineas and a crown for my own share, and JMurphey 
had the rest' " 


On this ch'di'ni he was awiuitted, because he, personally, 
did not privately steal but he was again indicted for being a 
confederate,— and this is the evidence for the i;roBecutrix : — 

" Catherine S/elham, tlie elder. ' On the 22nd of January 
last, in the afternoon, a box of lace, which 1 valued at £oO, 
was stolen out of my shop. I went, the same night, to the 
jjrisoner's house to inquire after it; but, not finding him at 
home, I advertised the lace I had lost, with a reward of 
fifteen guineas, and no questiorj to be aske^l. ]>ut, hearing 
no news of it, I went to the prisoner's house again, and then 
I met with him. He desired me to give him a descrijAion 
of the persons I suspected, which I did as well as I could. 
Upon this, he promised to make inquiry, and bid me call 
again in two or three days ; I did so, and then he said he 
liad heard something of my lace, and expected to liear more 
in a little time. While we were talking, a man came in, 
and said that, by wliat he had learned, he ijelieved that one 
Kelly, who had been tried for jjutting off gilded shillings, 
was cfjnccrned in stealing the lace. I went a%say, and came 
on that day the jjrisoner was apjtrehended. I told him that 
though I had advertised but fifteen guineas reward, I would 
give twenty, or five and twenty, rather than not have my 
lace again. " Don't be in such a hurry, good woman," says 
he, " ];>erhaps I may help ye to it for less ; and, if 1 can, I 
will The persons that have your la^;e are gone out of 
town; I sliall set them quarrelling about it, and then I 
shall get it the cheajier." On the 10th of March, he sent 
me word, tliat if I would come to him in Xewgate, and 
bring ten guineas in my pocket, he could help me to my 
lace. I went : He desired me to call a jjoi-ter ; but I 
telling him 1 knew not wlicre to find one, he sent out a 
person, who brought a man tliat appeared to be a ticket 
j»orter. The prisoner gave me a letter, which he said was 
sent to him, as a direction where to go for the lace : but, as 
I could not rea^l, I delivered it to the porter ; after which 
the i»risoner bid me give the jiorter ten guineas, or else, he 
said, the jierson who harl the lace, would not deliver it. I 
gave the porter the money, and he went away; and, in a 
little while, returned with a box sealed up, but it was not 
the same that 1 had lost. 1 opened it, and found all my 



lace, except one piece. " Now, Mr. Wild," says I, " what 
must I give you for your trouble ?" — " Not a farthing, 
Madam," says he, " not a single farthing. I don't do these 
things for worldly interest, but for the benefit of poor 
people who have met with misfortunes. As for the piece 

Jonathan Wild going to Execution. 

of lace that is missing, I would not have ye be uneasy, for I 
hope to get it for you, 'ere long ; nay, and I don't know, but 
in a little time, I may not only help ye to your ten guineas 
again, but to the thief too. And, if I^ can, much good may 



it do you ; and, as you are a widow and a good Christian, I 
desire nothing of ye but your prayers; and, for them, I 
shall be thankful. I have a great many enemies, and God 
knows what may be the consequences of this imprison- 

' isi xmm 

IM j-Jalia 



3lSiiS saaBpBBiTTnB^ 


B|iQPf-?li I! 

■li iBiiii 1 1 

Jonathan Wild's Honse in the Old Bailey. 

He was foimd guilty, and sentenced to death. At the 
last he procured and took some laudanum, and went to his 
execution in a semi-comatose state, but recovered con- 
siderably by the time he reached Tyburn. This was 


probably due to the treatment he received I'lom the paob, 
who reviled and cursed him, and continually pelted him 
with stones and dirt. And at Tyburn, the other male- 
factors (fo.r they generally were hanged in batches), being 
ready to be turned off, the hangman telling Wild that he 
might take any reasonable time to prepare himself, he 
continued sitting in the cart for a little while ; but the 
mob grew so outrageous at this indulgence, that they 
called out incessantly to the hangman to do his office, and 
threatened to kill him if he did not immediately perform it. 
He was executed 24th May 1725. 

His body seems to have been stolen, for a contemporary 
account says : " About Two o'Clock in the Morning, after 
his Execution, he was buried in Pancras Church-yard ; but 
his body did not rest there, for, in two or three Nights 
afterwards, the Surgeons (as 'tis believed) thought fit to 
remove it. A Hearse and Six was seen waiting about Mid- 
night, at the End of Fig Lane, at which Place the empty 
Coffin was found the next Morning; but what became of 
the Body, is yet a Secret." Mr. Timbs, writing in 1868, 
says that his skeleton was some years since in the possession 
of a surgeon at Windsor; but I believe it is now in the 
College of Surgeons, having been presented by Frederick 
Fowler, Esq., in 1847. 


" Now the Fatal! day is come, 
On which I must receive my doom. 
Upon that wretched fatall tree, 
A game for all people to be. 

" While I did live in Splendor grate, 
My Attendances on me to wait, 
I made my money for to fly, 
But now on tyburn i must dye. 

" Many a one i train'd up i say, 
For to run on in Wicked ways. 
And when they had displesed me, 
I'd send them to the Featall tree. 


" I have cropt maney in there prime, 
Before that th'ave lived half there time, 
But indeed i have my deseartes. 
To tyhurn to rid in a Cart. 

" I often cursed Blewskines Bluented knife. 
That did not take away my Life, 
If deeper he had gave the stroke, 
I should not dy'd then by the rope. 

" Butler at last has made me reu, 
He makes the proverb now come true. 
Save a theif from the Galows then 
To hang you he'll be the first man. 

" The Hempen Widdow she does cry, 
Alas, my Husbend now must dye. 
But when he's ded and in his grave, 
then none but Buttler I will have. 

" The Bomen^ that's out on the Lay, 
They do rejoys now at this day, 
Likewise the priggs in the witt^ does sing 
For joy that i this day must swing. 

" Now priggs and Divers' rejoys i say. 
No more tribute to him you'l pay. 
All that you git will be your own, 
No more to Jonathan you'll come. 

" A Wicked wrech indead i have been, 
The Like of me suer ne'er was seen, 
At last my fate must be a string, 
On tyburn i this day must Swing. 

" All You that sees my featall end, 
i hope Your Lives You will amend, 
for fear You should come to the same, 
for all the world to be a game. 

" Lord how shall i stand before they face. 
That has been such a wicked wretch, 
I must away the Bell does toull. 
The Lord have mercey on my soull." 

^ Boman, a bold and expert thief. 

^ Cant name for Newgate ; sometimes called Whittington's College, on 
account of his rebuilding it, hence the abbreviation, 
•* Pickpockets. 

- ffaali t.he0uevea7(. 

2>wiui flir/—/r-d/ram /uA 
■fzatji-tUluUJnfficiu Cbilcchm 
\ Wy ^ippi^ 'Iree, ixf/ie-i'e- ha\ 
tcr7na/.e /ui! Ici/tyllT^i-t 

i CaT/i<] fo tt Carry 'dy9cnntfv 
■L iyLedMari.tly Iitt^rr'd a = 


Fray lirtr^ t/tu) Ixcktt wit/iyov 


The Case of Catherine Hayes and her fearful end — Jenny Diver, Champion 
Thief and Swindler of her day. 

We now come to a terrible page in the history of Newgate, 
— the case of Catherine Hayes. On 2nd March 1726, at 
daybreak, a watchman found a man's head (which appeared 
to have been newly severed from its body) and a bloody 
pail in a dock near the Horseferry Eoad, Westminster, and 
called people to witness his discovery. The head was 
carried to St. Margaret's churchyard and laid upon a tomb- 
stone, but, it being smeared with blood and dirt, the church- 
wardens ordered it to be washed, and the hair combed ; 
which, being done, it was set on a pole for the purpose of 
identification. It so continued for three days, and on Gth 
March it was delivered to Mr. Westbrook, a surgeon, who 
put it into a large glass case full of spirits, and showed it to 
whoever desired to see it. On 21st March a man named 
■ Ashby, who was intimately acquainted with one John Hayes, 
a thrifty and well-to-do man (who lived with his wife 
Catherine in a house in Chelsea, where he sold coal and 
chandlery, did a little in money lending, and let lodgings at 
that time to Thomas Billings, a tailor, Thomas Wood, out of 
employment, and a Mrs. Springate, who has no connection 
with the tragedy), called to see him. He was not at home, 
and his wife told several stories to account for his absence, 
the last one being that her husband had killed a man by 
misadventure, and that he was in hiding. Ashby did not 
like this story, and calling on a relation of Hayes', one 
Longmore, he told him of it. Longmore went that evening 
to Mrs. Hayes, and, from her behaviour and discourse, he 
thought there was every reason to believe that Hayes had 
been murdered, and that she knew something about it. 


Next day he called on Ashby, and they went together to 
Mr. Westbrook's, and desired to see the head which had 
been found. The moment they looked on it they were 
satisfied that it was that of John Hayes. 

On the 23rd March they applied to a Justice of the 
Peace, and made oath of all they had discovered. He not 
only granted a warrant for the apprehension of Mrs. Hayes, 
but went himself with them and a constable to her house 
about nine o'clock the same night. Finding her chamber 
door shut, they knocked, and she asked "Who was there ?" 
They answered, " Open the door, or we shall break it open." 
She said she was in bed, and desired them to stay a little 
till she had dressed ; which they did, and she let them in. 
They at once seized her, and, finding Billings sitting on her 
bed, they took him too. They were separately examined by 
the Justice, but as they confessed nothing, the woman was 
committed to Tothill Bridewell and the man to the New 
Prison. The next day, as the officers were conveying Mrs. 
Hayes in a coach to be examined by the Justice for a second 
time, she expressed a great desire to see the head, and 
stopping at Mr. Westbrook's, it was shown her. At once 
she recognised it, passionately kissed the glass case, said it 
was her dear husband's head, and begged to have a lock of 
his hair; but Mr. Westbrook told her he was afraid she 
had had too much of his blood, whereupon she fainted away, 
and, on her recovery, was taken before the Justice. Whilst 
she was under examination, a constable arrived with the 
news that a few hours previously a gardener and his man, 
who were walking in Marylebone fields, had discovered the 
limbs and trunk of a man's body wrapped up in two 
blankets lying m a pond near the Farthing Pie House. Still 
she confessed nothing; but, as there were strong pre- 
sumptions of her guilt, she was committed to Newgate. 

A day or two afterwards Wood called at her house, and 
the people there, knowing that he was suspected of com- 
plicity in the murder, sent him to a place where he was 
arrested, examined, and committed to prison. There he 
heard what discoveries had been made, and thinking that it 
would be vain to protest his innocence any longer, resolved 
to make a full confession, which was as follows : — 


" The examination and confession of Thomas Wood, 
taken before John Mohun, Oliver Lambert, and Thomas 
Salt Esqrs. three of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace for 
the County of Middlesex, this 27th day of March 1726. 

" Who conf esseth and saith. That on Tuesday, being the 
first day of March instant, he had been drinking in several 
places, and that the last place was in the Hog in the Pound, 
and came about twelve of the clock at noon to Mr. Hayes' 
lodgings; and, when he came home, was merry, as Mr. 
Hayes told him : and Mr. Hayes told him he could drink a 
great deal of liquor, and not be fuddled ; and said ' I and 
another drank half a guinea a piece in wine, without being 
fuddled.' That Thomas Billings, then in company, said, that 
if Mr. Hayes would then drink half a guinea's worth of 
wine, and not be fuddled, he would pay for it ; that Hayes 
agreed, and they each put down half a guinea; and that 
Catherine Hayes, Thomas Billings and this examinant went 
out about four o'clock in the afternoon, on the day aforesaid, 
to Bond Street, and brought in with them, to Mr. Hayes' 
lodgings, about six or seven bottles of Mountain wine ; and, 
upon their return, found Mr. Hayes sitting by the fire side, 
in the fore-room, eating bread and cheese : That, then, this 
examinant went to the Angel and Crown to fetch a pot of 
Twopenny, to drink while Mr. Hayes drank the wine ; that 
he stayed about half an hour, and, when he returned, about 
half the wine was drank, and Mr. Hayes began to be very 
merry, and danced about the room, and said he thought he 
should not have wine enough to make him fuddled; on 
which, Thomas Bilhngs went out by himself and fetched 
another bottle of wine ; and, when Hayes had drank that, 
he began to reel about the room, and went and laid down 
on the bed in the back room ; That Thomas Billings followed 
him into the said room, and there, with a hatchet, struck 
him on the back part of the head, which blow, this 
examinant heard given, and went into the room, and found 
Mr. Hayes dead; and that Mrs. Hayes followed this 
examinant, and said, 'We must take off his head, and 
make away with it, or it will betray us.' And that, then, 
Catherine Hayes, Thomas Billings, and this examinant, with 
this examinant's pocket knife, cut off Mr. Hayes' head, about 


eight of the clock at night, on the day afore said, and then 
put it into a pail, without a bale;^ and Thomas Billings, 
and this examinant, carried the pail, with the head in it, to 
the Water Side ; and when they came there, Thomas Billings 
set down the pail, and this examinant took it up, and threw 
it into the Thames, and so both returned to Mrs. Hayes' 
lodgings, and went to bed in the fore room, in which room 
Mrs. Hayes sat up all night. 

" And this examinant further confesseth, and saith, That 
the next morning, as soon as it was light, Catherine Hayes, 
Thomas Billings, and this examinant began to consult what 
they must do with the body. That Catherine Hayes pro- 
posed to put it in a box which she had by her, and put it in 
a coach, and carry it away, and throw it into the Thames : 
that they all endeavoured, but the box was not large enough 
to hold it ; upon which, Catherine Hayes proposed to cut it 
in pieces, which she, Thomas Billings and this examinant 
did, and put it into the box, where it remained till night, 
and then all agreed to carry it out by parcels ; and that, 
first, about nine of the clock at night, Thomas Billings and 
this examinant took the carcase in a blanket, and carried it, 
by turns, to a sort of a pond, or a ditch, in Marybone fields, 
and threw it in, with the blanket ; and then returned again 
to Mrs. Hayes' lodgings, being eleven o'clock at night, and 
then took the limbs in a piece of a blanket ; and, by turns, 
carried them to the same place, and threw them into the 
same pond, and returned again about twelve or one of the 
clock the same night, and knocked at the door, and were let 
in. That they went to bed in the fore noon, and that 
Catherine Hayes was in the same room, and sometimes went 
and lay down upon their bed. 

" And this examinant further confesseth, and saith, that 
on Thursday, being the third of March instant, he went to 
Greenford, near Harrow, in Middlesex, and carried with him 
a white coat, and a pair of leathern breeches, which were 
Mr. John Hayes', and are now in G-reenford aforesaid. 

" And this examinant further confesseth and saith, that 
on Saturday, being the fifth day of March, instant, this 

' Handle. 


examinant returned to Mr. Hayes' lodgings, for some linen of 
his own ; that, tlien, Mrs. Hayes gave him a pair of shoes, a 
waistcoat, a hat, and a pair of stockings, which this exam- 
inant knew to be her late husband's; and, likewise, gave 
him two shillings in money ; that she told him the head was 
found at Westminster, but was not known ; he then returned 
to Greenford. 

"And this examinant further saith, That Catherine Hayes 
gave him three shillings and sixpence, and promised to supply 
him with money when ever he wanted: And further saith, 
That the said Catherine Hayes had many times before, and 
often on the first day of March instant, proposed to Thomas 
Billings and this examinant, the murder of her husband : 
that Thomas Billings had agreed to murder him, and offered 
to give this examinant money to buy wine to make Mr 
Hayes drunk, that they might accomplish the murder. 

"Thomas Wood." 

The next day Catherine Hayes sent from Newgate to 
Billings that it was in vain for him to deny the murder any 
longer, for they were all guilty, and must die for it; and 
Bilhngs hearing this, and that Wood had already confessed, 
did the same, in the same tenour, corroborating Wood in all 
particulars. Catherine Hayes resolved to take her trial. 
Billings and' Wood pleaded guilty and were sentenced to be 
hanged. Mrs Hayes was found guilty, but as she was 
charged with Petty Treason, she was sentenced to be burned. 
Wood died in jail, probably of jail fever ; Billings was duly 
hanged, and afterwards gibbetted in irons; and Catherine 
Hayes, after being prevented from poisoning herself, was 
burned ; the carrying out of which sentence is thus described 
in the Newgate Calendar. 

" Mrs. Hayes having spent some time in devotion, was 
taken to a stake near the gallows ; and, an iron chain being 
fastened round her body, she was there burned alive. It is 
necessary to observe that every woman convicted, either of 
high, or petit treason, receives sentence to be burned alive ; 
but the common practice, consistent with the dictates of 
humanity, is first to strangle them, so that they are dead 
before the fire can touch the body. Various have been the 


-Irj HsT^es: ani. j:~e vrirs i^:, a Jrrias c: IrT'erj weie 


: Oatbaiae HaT«^ 

had dve- pr^-sre :vifr; 
:b5: we eonld rrcv-.irx?. : 

:' r a lirer:^! rxe:v.:i, :;, vrhile oihei^ 

:t. Bur ihe iu.-$: rational socvi^n: 

that she w;,^ :5<:e::z^.l :o the stoke. 


and a rope drawn round her neck by the executioner, to 
strangle her, which he pulled as tight as he could ; but, the 
flames beginning to reach his hands, he was obliged to let it 
go, and she was seen, in the middle of the fire, pushing the 
faggots from her, and crying in such a terrible manner, that 
those who were present, remembered the expressions made 
use of by her, many years after. Undoubtedly it was a 
most dismal spectacle, and must have made a deep impres- 
sion on all those who had the least spark of humanity, to 
see a fellow creature burning alive in the flames; for, 
although they continued to heap faggots upon her, yet it 
was a considerable time before she was dead, and three 
hours before she was reduced to ashes." 

The accompanying illustration shows all the phases of 
this tragedy. 

In every case of an execution of more than usual interest 
to the public, there was almost invariably a ballad written 
upon it; and this case is no exception, for an anonymous 
scribbler, imagining that this execrable murder was a proper 
subject for drollery, wrote the following, which appeared in 
a pamphlet called A New Miscellany, 1730 : — 


To the Tune, of ' Ohevy-Chace.' 

" In Tyburn-road a man there liv'd 
A just and honest life, 
And there he might have lived still, 
If so had pleased his wife. 

" Full twice a day to church he went, 
And so devout would be, 
Sure never was a saint on earth, 
If that no saint was he ! 

" This vext his wife unto the heart. 
She was of wrath so full, 
That finding no hole in his coat. 
She picked one in his scull. 

" But then heart began to relent. 
And griev'd she was so sore, 
That quarter to him for to give, 
She cut him into four. 


" All in the dark and dead of night, 
These quarters she conveyed, 
And in a ditch in Marybone, 
His marrow-bones she laid. 

" His head at Westminster she threw 
All in the Thames so wide ; 
Says she, my dear, the wind sets fair. 
And you may have the tide. 

" But Heav'n, whose pow'r no limit knows, 
On earth, or on the main. 
Soon caus'd this head for to be thrown 
Upon the land again. 

" This head being found, the justices 
Their heads together laid ; 
And all agreed there must have been 
Some body to this head. 

" But, since no body could be found. 
High mounted on a shelf, 
They e'en set up the head to be, 
A witness for itself. 

" Next, that it no self murder was, 
The case itself expLiins, 
For no man could cut off his head. 
And throw it in the Tliames. 

" Ere many days had gone and past, 
The deed at length was known. 
And Cath'rine, she coufesa'd, at last. 
The fact to be her own. 

" God prosper long our noble King, 
Our lives and safeties all. 
And grant tliat we may warning take 
By Cath'rine Hayes's fall." 

There is nothing very particular in the way of crime 
connected with Newgate (only ordinary murders, highway 
robberies, etc.), until we come to the past mistress in 
the art of picking pockets — Mary Young, alias Jenny 
Diver. She was born in Ireland, but when about fifteen 
years of age, came to London. There she lodged with a 
countrywoman, who introduced her to a society of cut- 
purses, and on the night of her initiation received £10 as 


her share of the booty. She soon became an expert in her 
profession ; and as she always went about well dressed, was 
unsuspected. One of her tricks was very ingenious : she 
got an artist to make her two false arms, which were 
demurely crossed on her stomach, while her real ones were 
ready to steal whatever offered. She first used them in a 
fashionable church, whither she went with her footman (a 
confederate). She was placed in a pew, between two elderly 
ladies, each of whom had, as was the fashion then, a gold 
watch hanging by her side. During the sermon she 
behaved most demurely, but at the end, when all were 
standing up, she obtained both watches, which she con- 
veyed to a companion in a pew behind. The service over, 
Jenny went out first, and soon mingled with the crowd ; 
but before the ladies reached the door they missed their 
watches, over which loss they made a great outcry. On 
being questioned if they had any suspicion as to the thief, 
one of them petulantly answered, " That it could be none 
but the devil, or the lady who sat between them." '' Nay, 
that's impossible," cried the other, "for she never moved 
her hands from her lap all the service time." That even- 
ing, practising the same ruse, she stole a gold repeater from 
a gentleman, and her success so brought her to the front 
that she virtually became the head of the gang, and directed 
their operations. 

She had another method, which she tried with consider- 
able success, of which I give one instance. One day she 
and her footman wandered into Burr Street, Wapping, 
where, finding a genteel house, the footman knocked at the 
door, and when the maid opened it, he told her his lady 
was taken ill, and begged to speak with the mistress of the 
house. The maid asked Jenny to walk into the parlour, 
till she called her mistress, who was upstairs. Jenny sat 
down, seemingly half dead, and groaned in a terrible 
manner, a proceeding which brought the mistress of the 
house to her assistance. Both the mistress and the maid 
ran upstairs again, in great confusion, to find a smelling 
bottle ; and while they were gone, Jenny opened a drawer, 
in which she found sixty guineas. The pretended footman 
was asked into the kitchen, where he stole half a dozen 


silver spoons, a salt and a pepper box, while the women 
were busy attending to Jenny. Everything was got for her 
that could be thought of, and, whilst the mistress of the 
house was holding the smelling bottle to her nose, Jenny 
stole her purse without being perceived. She then pre- 
tended to be a little better ; and having returned the gentle- 
woman a thousand thanks for her kindness, ordered the 
footman to call a coach, and drive to the house of an 
eminent merchant who lived in Thames Street ; and when 
Jenny took her leave, she invited the gentlewoman to come 
and dine with her at the house of the merchant, whose wife 
she pretended to be. This affair made a great noise, and a 
circumstantial account of it getting into the newspapers, 
rendered it unsafe to practise that trick again for some 

After this, as London was getting rather warm for them, 
the gang went to Bristol, where they rather astonished the 
yokels, especially a west country clothier, who had just 
received a £100 for some goods, which sum he handed over 
to a servant, with orders to take it to his lodgings. The 
gang followed the man and hustled him, but without effect ; 
he kept too tight a grip upon the coin. So they changed 
their tactics, and left him. Soon afterwards one of them 
tapped him on the shoulder, and asked him whether he had 
not just parted from his master, who had given him a sum 
of money to take home ? " Yes," said the man, " what 
then ? " " Your master has altered his mind," said the 
sharper, " and is just upon the point of agreeing with my 
mistress for a parcel of goods, and desires you would bring 
the cash to him to pay for it." The man agreed, and was 
brought to Jenny, who, asking him who he was, he told her 
he was so-and-so's servant. " Oh ! honest friend," said she, 
" sit down ; your master has just gone a little way, and will 
return presently; but you must now stay till he comes. 
Have a glass of wine." So they hocussed the man, took 
his money, paid their reckoning, and set oft" for London. 

Of course her time came, and she was caught in the act 
of picking a gentleman's pocket, and committed to Newgate. 
Here she lay for four months, and, having plenty of money, 
she employed it in purchasing stolen goods, which she took 



with her when transported to America. There she sold her 
goods well, and lived for some months in splendour. Then 
a young man became infatuated with her, and brought her 
over to England, where she robbed and deserted him. She 
took to her old courses, but one day, in St. Paul's Cathedral, 
she was detected in picking a lady's pocket, and committed 
to Newgate under the name of Jane Webb. "When she was 
brought to trial, one gentleman, who had seen her pick the 
lady's pocket, swore that a person came and offered him 
£50 not to appear against her, which he refused; and a 
lady swore that she saw her pick above twenty pockets that 
day. As the record of her former conviction was not pro- 
duced, she was tried on an indictment for privately stealing, 
and the jury finding it less than one shilling, she was again 
transported. Within a year she again returned ; and, soon 
after, committed the crime for which she was hanged. One 
eveniug, as a lady was coming from Sherborne Lane to 
Walbrook, she saw some boards laid over a gutter, and as 
she approached them a man held out his hand to help her 
over. Accordingly she gave him her hand ; but, while he 
was leading her over, he held it up, and squeezed her fingers 
so hard that they were benumbed, while Jenny picked her 
pocket of thirteen shillings and a penny. The lady caught 
hold of her dress, and never let go until some people came 
to her assistance. In due course she was again committed 
to Newgate, sentenced to death, and hanged at Tyburn, 
18th March 1740. 


William Duell, Hanged and Brought to Life again — Cases of Resuscitation 
— Opinion on Public Executions, 1750 — Maclean, "the Gentleman 
Highwayman" — Horace Walpole tells of him — Pestilential Prisons — 
Black Assize at the Old Bailey — Ventilation of Newgate. 

The next thing worthy of note in connection with this 
prison is the case of William Duell, who, with a fellow 
ruffian named Meers, was hanged at Tyburn on 24th 
November 1740, but who afterwards came to life, and it 
is a well authenticated fact. The following is from The 
Gentleman's Magazine (vol. x. p. 570, A.D. 1740) : — " Monday 
JSTov. 24. — Five malefactors were executed at Tyburn, viz. 
. . . and William Duell, for robbing and murdering Sarah 
Grifin at Acton. The body of this last was brought to 
Surgeon's Hall to be anatomiz'd; but, after it was stripped, 
and laid on the board, and one of the Servants was washing 
him, in order to be cut, he perceiv'd Life in him, and found 
his Breath to come quicker and quicker; on which a 
Surgeon took some Ounces' of Blood from him ; in two 
Hours he was able to sit up in his Chair, and in the 
Evening, was again committed to Newgate." TJie London 
Magazine for 1740 (p. 560) gives some further particulars : 
— " In about two hours, he came so much to himself, as to 
sit up in a chair, groaned very much, and seemed in great 
agitation, but could not speak. He was kept at Surgeon's 
Hall till 12 o'clock at night; the Sheriff's Officers (who 
were sent for on this extraordinary occasion) attending. 
He was then conveyed to Newgate to remain till he be 
proved to be the very identical person ordered for execution 
on the 24th Instant. The next day he was in good health 
in Newgate, eat his victuals heartily, and asked for his 
mother. Great numbers of people resort continually to 
see him." And we find in The Gentleman's Magazine (vol. x. 




p. 621, 9th December 1740), "Wm. Duell ordered to be 
transported for life." The accompanying illustration is 
from a contemporary pamphlet, entitled News from the 
Bead, etc. 

There have been several recorded cases of resuscitation 
after hanging. Dr. Plott, in his History of Staffordshire, 

quotes the case of Inetta Balsham, in 1264. Henry of 
Knighton, in his Chronicle (column 2627), quotes the case 
of Walter Wynkeburn, in 1363. There was the undoubted 
case of Anne Greene, who was hanged at Oxford, 14th 
December 1650. She died in 1659. There was Margaret 
Dickson, or half-hanged Meg, who was hanged at Edinburgh 
on 19th June 1728, who lived for twenty-five years after- 


wards. The case of Margaret Cunningham, executed at 
Edinburgh in 1724, is so much like that of M. Dickson as 
to be somewhat apochryphal, and that of Ambrose Gwinette 
is purely so. These are only some of the recorded cases. 

After the Jacobite rising of 1745 none of the prisoners 
were confined in Newgate, there being three Commissions, 
one for Surrey, another for York, and the third for 

This insensate rage for hanging people was severely 
criticised at the time, as the following extract from 
Memoirs of the .Life of Mr. James Maclean (whose case I 
am about to narrate), published 1750, clearly shows: — 
" Considering the Number and Frequency of Executions 
in this Metropolis, the almost infinite Multitudes that 
resort to these shocking Spectacles, with a kind of un- 
natural Eagerness, one would be tempted to imagine that 
Hanging is become a Sport ; and publick Justice executed 
on the most atrocious Criminals, is looked upon by the 
Inhabitants of the Cities of London and Westminster as a 
mere Pastime. It is certain, the Design of executing 
Criminals in so publick a Manner, and with so much 
infamous Solemnity, is to strike a Terror upon the Minds 
of the People, and to give them a just Horror of the Crimes, 
that are attended with such dismal and shocking Con- 
sequences; the Government judging that such alarming 
Spectacles must sink deeper into the Minds, and have a 
more lasting Impression on the Dispositions of the 
Vulgar, than all the Lectures and Precepts of either 
Law or Eeligion, 

" The lower Class of People are little wrought upon by 
Arguments address'd to their Understanding; but seldom 
fail of being touch'd with Eeasoning, that is, in a Manner, 
visible to their Senses, and alarm their Passions, in the 
Manner that might be expected from publick Executions ; 
but, either the Morals of the People are so much debauch'd, 
and their Hearts so hardened, that they cannot understand 
the Design of these Wretches being brought to suffer in 
their Sight; or Executions are become so frequent, that 
they have lost the Force of Novelty to make them operate 
on the Minds of the People, according to the wise Intention 


of the Legislature. Whatever is the Eeason, it is certain 
these mournful and melanclioly Scenes have very little, or 
no, effect upon the Morals of tlie I'eople. Tlie Number of 
Delinquents is rather encreasing than diminishing, and 
Vice seems to gather Strength by the Opposition of the 
Magistrate. The People are affected, it is true, with the 
Sufferings of the Criminals; but they are affected with 
Compassion, Sympathy and Pity. They rather condemn 
the Severity of the Law, than express their Horror at the 
Crime that brought down the dreadful Punishment; in 
short, the worst of Villains, the greatest Pests and Enemies 
of Society, find more Friends, more Tears, more Compassion 
nay, more Praise and Honour, going to Execution, than an 
honest Man could expect, suffering in the most gallant 
Manner, in defence of Eeligion and Honour. This pre- 
vailing Disposition in the Mob, has, certainly, very bad 
Effect upon Society, takes off from the designed Horror 
and Ignominy of pubUck Executions, and makes them less 
dreaded; nay, to some Minds, might even render them 
agreeable; for, of late, if the Voice, the Pr.iise and the 
good Wishes of the Publick, can have any Influence on the 
Mind of Man, there is no more necessary to obtain it, than 
to become a notorious Villain, and to go to the Gallows with 
a good Grace." 

James Maclean, the Gentleman Highwayman, as he was 
called, was a son of a Scotch Presbyterian minister. He 
received a good education, but he had the misfortune to 
receive a small patrimony on the death of his father, when 
he was but eighteen years of age. This he soon dissipated, 
and was reduced to accept a situation as butler to a gentle- 
man at Cork, but was soon discharged. He then came to 
London, and became acquainted with some very loose 
characters, but at last married a decent woman with a 
dower of £500. With this sum he set up as a grocer in 
Welbeck Street, and seemed to do well, but at the death of 
his wife (about three years after marriage), his furniture 
and stock-in-trade were only worth £85. On this capital 
he started as a heau, in the hope of gaining the affection of 
some young lady of fortune, with a broken-down apothecary 
named Plunket as his pseudo footman. The matrimonial 



adventure was not a success, and Plunket suggested the 
highway as a means of livelihood, and, hiring horses, they 
stopped a grazier on Hounslow Heath, and took from him 
between £60 and £70. They were very successful for a 
long time, and Maclean was on the high road to marriage 

with a young lady of fortune, when a friend of hers, who 
knew Maclean as an adventurer, having told her of his 
character, the affair came to an end. Still he aped the 
beau, and took lodgings in St. James's Street, recruiting his 
purse by plunder on the road. In the course of his adven- 
tures he met with Horace Walpole, in Hyde Park, and 


robbed him. In Walpole's Short Notes, the following 
account of the encounter is given : — " One night, in the 
beginning of November 1749, as I was returning from 
Holland House, by moonlight, about ten at night, I was 
attacked by two highwaymen (Maclean and Plunket) in 
Hyde Park, and the pistol of one of them (the accomplished 
Maclean) going oft' accidentally, razed the skin under my 
eye, left some marks of shot on my face, and stunned me. 
The ball went through the top of the chariot, and, if I had 
sat an inch nearer to the left side, must have gone through 
my head." 

In The World of 19th December 1754, Walpole gives a 
further account of this robbery : " An acquaintance of mine 
was robbed, a few years ago, and very near shot through 
the head by the going off of the pistol of the accomplished 
Mr. Maclean ; yet the whole affair was conducted with the 
greatest good breeding on both sides. The robber, who had 
only taken a purse this ivay, because he had that morning 
been disappointed of marrying a great fortune, no sooner 
returned to his lodgings, than he sent the gentleman two 
letters of excuses, which, with less wit than the epistles of 
Voiture, had ten times more natural and easy politeness in 
the turn of their expression. In the postcript, he appointed 
a meeting at Tyburn, at twelve at night, where the gentle- 
man might purchase again any trifles he had lost ; and my 
friend has been blamed for not accepting the rendevous, as 
it seemed liable to be construed by ill natured people, into 
the doubt of the honour of a man, who had given him all 
the satisfaction in his power, for having unhickily been near 
shooting him through the head." 

He went soon after this to Holland for a time, only return- 
ing when he thought he was somewhat forgotten. But his 
end was near. On the 26th June 1750, he robbed the Earl of 
Eglinton, and part of the booty was afterwards found at his 
lodgings ; and the same day they stopped the Salisbury 
stage-coach, and took from the passengers two portmanteaus, 
which, with the rest of the spoil, were taken to Maclean's 
lodgings in Pall Mall. Having divided the plunder, Mac- 
lean was so infatuated that, although the clothes stolen 
were described and advertised, he stripped some lace off a 



waistcoat, and carried it for sale to the very lacemau from 
whom it had been bought. He also went to a salesman in 
:\Ionmouth Street (then a market for second-hand clothes), 
and took him home to look at the clothes. As soon as he 
saw them, the man knew they were those which had been 
stolen, and pretending that he must go home for money, he 
went to a constable, and Maclean was arrested. The news 

soon spread, and at his examination before the magistrate, 
great numbers of noblemen, gentlemen, and ladies attended, 
and a practical proof of their sympathy was afforded by 
their presenting him with a purse of money. However, lie 
was committed for trial. At the Old Bailer, in the accom- 
panying print, we see the fair sex well represented, and not 
only weeping at his fate, but Lady Caroline Petersham 


giving evideuce in his behalf. What they could have seen 
in the rogue is a puzzle, for the Ordinary describes him " in 
person of the middle size, well limbed, and a sandy com- 
plexion, a broad, open countenance pitted v?ith the small- 
pox, but though he was called the Gentleman Highwayman, 
and in his dress and equipage very much affected the fine 
gentleman ; yet, to a man acquainted with good breeding, 
that can distinguish it from impudence and affectation, 
there was very little in his address, or behaviour, that 
could entitle him to that character." 

He was tried and convicted on 13th September 1750, 
and was brought up on the 20th, when -he was sentenced 
to death. He utterly broke down, could not read his defence, 
and could only stammer out, " My Lord, I can go no further," 
which is alluded to in Gray's Long Story, thus : — 

" But soon his rhetorick forsook him, 
When he the solemn hall had seen, 
A sudden fit of ague shook him, 

He stood as mute as poor Macleane." 

Horace Walpole writes to his gossip Mann: "I have 
been in town for a day or two, and heard no conversation 
but about M'Lean, a fashionable highwayman, who is just 
taken, and who robbed me among others ; as Lord Eghnton, 
Sir Thomas Eobinson of Vienna, Mrs. Talbot, &c. He took 
an odd booty from the Scotch Earl, a blunderbuss, which 
lies very formidably upon the Justice's table. He was taken 
by selling a laced waistcoat to a pawnbroker, who happened 
to carry it to the very man who had just sold the lace. His 
history is very particular, for he confesses every thing, and 
is so little of a hero, that he cries and begs ; and, I believe, 
if Lord Eglinton had been in any luck, might have been 
robbed of his own blunderbuss. His father was an Irish 
dean, his brother is a Calvinist minister in great esteem at 
the Hague. He himself, was a grocer ; but, losing a wife, 
whom he loved extremely, about two years ago; and, by 
whom he has one little girl, he quitted his business, with 
£200 in his pocket, which he soon spent, and then took 
to the road with only one companion, Plunket, a journey- 
man apothecary, my other friend, whom he lias impeached, 


but who is not taken. M'Lean had a lodging in St. James's 
St., over against White's, and another at Chelsea ; Pkinket, 
one in Jermyn St., and their faces are as well known about 
St. James's, as any gentleman who lives in that quarter, 
and who, perhaps, goes upon the road too. M'Lean had 
a quarrel at Putney ^ bowling green, two months ago, with 
an officer, whom he challenged for disputing his rank ; but 
the captain declined, till M'Lean should produce a certificate 
of his nobility, which he has just received. If he had 
escaped a month longer, he might have heard of Mr. Chute's 
geneologic expertness, and come hither to the C!ollege of 
Arms for a certificate. There was a ward robe of clothes, 
three and twenty purses, and the celebrated blunderbuss 
found at his lodgings, besides a famous kept mistress. As 
I conclude he wiU suffer, and wish him no ill, I don't care 
to have his idea, and am almost single in not having been 
to see him. Lord Mountford, at the head of half White's, 
went the first day ; his aunt was crying over him ; as soon 
as they were withdrawn, she said to him, knowing they 
were of White's, ' My dear, what did the Lords say to you ? 
have you ever been concerned with any of them?' Was 
it not admirable ? what a favourable idea people must have 
of White's ! and what if White's should not deserve a much 
better ! But the chief personages who have been to comfort 
and weep over this fallen hero, are Lady Caroline Petersham, 
and Miss Ashe : I call them Polly and Lucy, and asked them 
if he did not sing, 'Thus I stand like the Turk with his 
doxies around.' " ^ 

And again he writes to the same : " Bobbing is the only 
thing that goes on with any vivacity, though my friend 
Mr. M'Lean is hanged. The first Sunday after his con- 
demnation, three thousand people went to see him; he 
fainted away twice with the heat of his cell. You can't con- 
ceive there is of going to Newgate ; and the prints that are 
published of the malefactors, and the memoirs of their lives 
and deaths set forth with as much parade as — as — Marshal 
Turenne's — we have no Generals worth making a parallel." 

1 For sixty years, 1690-1750, the most celebrated bowling-green in the 
neighbourhood of London. 

- The last song in the Begr/ars' Opera. 


The vice, drunkenness, immorality, uncleanness of the 
prisoners, and want of sanitation and overcrowding of the 
prisoners in Newgate, produced a result such as could only 
be reasonably expected, and the polluted prisoners, who 
might die like flies, gave their judges, counsel, and jury 
a whiff of gaol fever, whereof many presently died. It 
was once said that railway accidents would never cease 
until a director were strapped in front of each train, or 
a bishop was killed — so was it with Newgate ; the prisoners 
might die as fast as they liked, but when a Lord Mayor 
caught the infection and died, why, something must be done. 
The disease was nothing new, nor was it confined to New- 
gate. Baker, in his Chronicle, gives a notable instance of 
a ''Black Assize" in 1577: "About this time, when the 
Judges sate at the Assizes in Oxford, and one Roidand 
Jenks a Bookseller was question'd for speaking opprobrious 
"Words against the Queen, suddenly they were surpriz'd 
with a pestilent Savour, whether rising from the noisome 
Smell of the Prisoners, or from the damp of the Ground, 
is uncertain ; but all that were there present, almost every 
one, within Forty Hours died, except Women and Children ; 
and the Contagion went no farther. There died Robert Bell, 
Lord Chief Baron, Rohert d'Oyly, Sir William Babington 
D'Oyly, Sheriff of Oxfordshire, Harcourt, Weyman, Petti- 
place, most of 'em Men in this Tract ; Barliain the famous 
Lawyer, almost all the Jurors, and Three Hundred other, 
more or less." 

Noorthouek, in his History of London, speaking of the 
Sessions held at the Old Bailey in May 1750, says : " The 
reduction of the army at the late peace, had dispersed 
over the nation such numbers of dissolute soldiers, that the 
prisons were all now crouded with felons for variety of 
crimes which immorality, idleness and indigence give rise 
to. Newgate was rendered so infectious by an uncommon 
number of prisoners, confined together in close unwhole- 
some apartments, that the very air they breathed acquired 
a pestilential degree of putrefaction. This contagion, brought 
by the foul cloaths and infected bodies of the criminals into 
the Court of the Old Bailey, at the Session in May, produced 
a pestilential fever amongst the audience." The deaths of 


notables at this Sessions is chronicled in the Gentleman's 
Magazine, and includes Sir Sam. Pennant, Lord Mayor; 
Charles Clark, Esq., Baron of the Exchequer ; Sir Thomas 
Abney, Justice of the Common Pleas ; Sir Daniel Lambert, 
Alderman; Eobt. Cox, Esq., one of the under sheriffs; 
Deputy Hunt; Mr. Sharpless, Clerk of the Papers; two 
barristers, eight of the jury, and several others. We read 
also that " a messenger from Lord Chief Justice Lee attended 
the Court of Aldermen, to acquaint them of the necessity of 
some new regulations for Xewgate Gaol, or it would be 
dangerous for persons to attend the business of the Sessions 
at the Old Bailey. To the message was annexed a list of 
above 20 persons that were at the last Sessions, who have 
since died, as thought, from the noisome stench of the 
prisoners. ... To prevent any danger for the future, every 
part of the Court, and the gaol of Newgate, have been 
cleansed, and washed with vinegar ; the prisoners, also, are 
to be washed with vinegar before they are brought to trial, 
and the number there, at one time, is not to exceed 15." 

To counteract the effects of the foul air in Newgate, they 
erected, on the top of the gate, in April 1752, a windmill, 
which, by a system of ventilation invented by Dr. Hales, 
withdrew it from the prison, its place being taken by fresh 
air. According to our modern ideas, it was very faulty in 
construction, and their ideas of chemistry at that time were 
somewhat crude. "It is well known, by long, and too 
frequent experience, that the destructive gaol distemper, is 
occasioned by bad air in prisons, which is filled with the 
great quantity of vapours that arise from the breath and 
perspiration of the prisoners ; which being, as Dr. Keil found 
it here in England, at the rate of 39 ounces in 24 hours, from 
one person, this in 100 prisoners will amount to 243 pounds. 
Now, such close, confined air, by long stagnating, is very apt 
to putrify; and putrifaction being the most subtle and 
powerful dissolvent in nature, it dissolves the blood and 
humours of human bodies, and, thereby, produces that very 
infectious, pestilential disease, which is called the gaol dis- 
temper. And such close confined, damp, putrid air, will not 
only dissolve human bodies, which are framed of materials 
strongly tending to putrifaction; but, also, even heart of 



oak, as is well known by daily experience every where." 

When we consider the filthy conditions under which the 

different prisons were kept (and it was the custom to remove 

all the malefactors of the other gaols awaiting trial at the 

Sessions into Newgate, already too crowded), it is marvellous 

that this congregation of 500 or more foul and " verminous 

persons" did not more often induce this gaol fever. To 

show the state of other city prisons I will give but one 

instance. Mr. Elson, the bricklayer, whose men were 

employed in the repairs of Bridewell in April 1750, said 

that they found such a stench in the workrooms and 

common sewers that they refused to go to work without 

tobacco and a large dram ; 

these all escaped unhurt ; but 

the carpenters not taking the 

same precautions, four of them 

were infected with the gaol 

distemper, of which two died. 

In the Gentleman's Magazine 

of February 1753 is a report 

from Dr. Hales, clerk of the 

Court, to Her Eoyal Highness 

the Princess of Wales, relative 

to the success of his windmill 

ventilator at Newgate and 

the Savoy prisons. He says : 

" This is to inform the publick, 

that the ventilators, worked 

by a windmill, having been 

fixed in Neivgate, and the branching trunks to twenty 
four wards, having been finished about four months; 
whereby all the wards liave the foul putrid air drawn 
out from them, in their turns; upon making enquiry of 
Mr. Akerman, the keeper, I have the satisfaction to find 
that this ventilation is of great benefit to the health and 
lives of the prisoners. For, by comparing the last four 
months with the like four months of the preceding years, it 
appears that there died seven in the four months to the end 
of last January; whereas in the same months of the six 
preceding years, there died ninety nine; which is, at a 

Newgate, with Windmill. 


medium, at the rate of between 16 and 17 every four 
months ; so that more than nine lives, every four months, 
have been saved by this means." As a practical proof of the 
efficacy of the ventilation, several of the workmen engaged 
in erecting the tubing, etc., fell ill from unconsciously 
inhaling the fetid discharge. 


Whipping at the Cart's Tail — Drawn to Execution on a Sledge — Thief- 
taking, a, Profession — Pour Thief -takers Pilloried: One Killed — 
Attempts to Break Prison — Gentlemen Highwaymen : One Reprieved 
— Hanged for cheating Creditors — Newgate on Fire — The Keeper's 
Behaviour— Attempt to Escape — Cleansing Newgate — Projected New 
Prison — Fagin's Prototype. 

In the old days, swindlers were dealt with in a summary, 
and, probably, an extremely efficacious manner. The case 
of William Stroud (in 1752) is here introduced, not as 
appertaining to Newgate, for he was not imprisoned there, 
but to show the punishment of whipping at the cart's tail. 
He played the old game, dressed well, took a good house 
with livery servants, and passed himself off as a man of 
fortune. He obtained goods on credit, sold them at once, 
and spent the proceeds in keeping up appearances. He 
seems to have been a past-master in craft, and is spoken of 
almost with reverence for his iniquities. " To enumerate all 
the frauds committed by him, would swell this narrative to 
the size of a volume, for there was scarce a place in either 
town or country where he had not given a specimen of 
his ingenuity. Upholsterers, taylors, lacemen, drapers, silk 
mercers, silversmiths, jewellers, watch makers, hatters, 
hosiers, and, in short, all trades that can be thought of, 
were less or more laid iinder contributions by this artful 
sharper." He was caught, tried, and convicted, and his 
sentence was that he was to be imprisoned six months in 
Bridewell, where he was to be kept to hard labour, and, 
during that time, to be publicly whipped at the cart's tail, 
through different streets, no less than six times. 

Another case, also unconnected with Newgate, is given 
to show a portion of the punishment allotted to the crime of 




high treason — the being drawn to Tyburn on a sledge, 
instead of riding in a cart. The offender in this case was 
Dr. Cameron, who was hanged, drawn, and quartered at 
Tyburn on 7th June 1753. He was a very inoffensive man, 

of great repute in his profession, but he was brother to 
Cameron of Lochiel, who joined the Pretender in 1745. The 
Doctor used all his influence to prevent this, but his efforts 
were irnavaihng, and he consented to go with his brother as 
his physician. After CuUoden, he fled to Flanders, where 



he was appointed physician to Ogilvie's regiment ; but he 
came over to England in 1750 about a subscription set on 
foot on behalf of suffering Jacobites abroad. He returned 
safely, but trying the same thing two years afterwards, was 
caught, committed to the Tower, and suffered as above. He 
was the last who was thus judicially murdered on account 
of the rebellion of '45. 

In 1749, when peace was concluded, so many discharged 
soldiers and sailors flocked to London from all parts of the 
British dominions, that, in order to prevent the increase of 
robberies, the Government was obhged to enlarge the 
reward offered by Act of Parliament for the capture and 
conviction of criminals. Undoubtedly, it entered into no 
one's mind what use would be made of such rewards ; but 


the consequence was, that many innocent pei sons lost their 
lives for crimes never committed, whilst their relations 
were disgraced and their families entirely ruined. As a 
matter of fact, a new profession had sprung up — that of 
thief-taker, a profitable one, as we have seen in the case of 
Jonathan Wild, and, in the hands of unscrupulous vaga- 
bonds, a fairly safe one. There was a little gang of four of 
them — Daniel, Berry, Egan, and Salmon, and for many 
years they lived on the price of blood. The following is 
the plan upon which they generally acted : — One of them 
was to seduce two persons into a robbery on the highway, 
in which, to prevent any surprise, he was to be an accom- 
plice ; another of them was to be the person robbed ; a 
third was to buy the stolen goods of the thieves ; and a 
fourth was to seize them, as an officer, who was to join the 
two last in the prosecution. He that had assisted to commit 
the robbery was to escape, while the two whom they had 
seduced were to be hanged, and the reward shared by the 
gang. This was one of the plans of these monsters in 
human shape, and for several years they carried it out with 
too much success. 

It was a similar case that led to their discomfiture. Two 
lads were being taken to Maidstone Jail for thieving, and, 
on their way thither, they told the constable that they had 
been led into it by a man named Blee. Of this he informed 
the high constable, Mr. Cox, who remembered that Blee was 
a companion of Daniel ; so he apprehended Blee, who at once 
told everything. Mr. Cox obtained warrants for the four 
above mentioned, and caused them to be apprehended the 
moment the two lads were convicted. They were thunder- 
struck, and each wanted to turn evidence against the others. 
They were tried at the Old Bailey, and they were sentenced 
to be set in the pillory twice, at the following places : — 
Daniel and Berry to stand at the end of Hatton Garden, 
and, afterwards, at the end of King Street, Cheapside ; Egan 
and Salmon in the middle of Smithfield, and, afterwards, at 
the end of Fetter Lane, Elect Street. They were, also, to be 
imprisoned seven years in Newgate, and find securities of 
£1000 each for their good behaviour for seven years more. 
Berry and Daniel were severely handled by the mob ; but, 



oa 8th March 1756, when Egan and Sahnon were exposed 
Egan was killed by a stone thrown at him, and Salmon 
narrowly escaped with his life, so that it was not thought 
proper to expose the surviving three again. 

In a little book, called London in Miniature, published 
in 1755, is a curious paragraph about Newgate: "This is 

the Prison for Criminals of the City of London, and County 
of Middlesex ; it is also a Jail for Debtors, and is a structure 
of Cost and Beauty ; but the Sumptuousness of the Outside 
only serves to aggravate the Misery of the Wretches therein. 
... On the Top of the Gate is a Sun Dial, with this Motto, 
Venio ut Fur ; alluding to the Thieves, who come thither 
unexpected as the Sun, and disappear as its Shadow. Persons 


ought to be cautious how they come near the Thieves of 
either Sex; for they, having nothing to hazard, are very 
ready and dextrous in picking of Pockets. Those that have 
received Sentence of Death, may be seen in the Chapel on 
a Sunday Morning ; but to see the several Places here, the 
Jailors expect a Compensation." 

The Gentlemen's Magazine, of June 1758, tells us that 
" the felons in Newgate, intended for transportation, in order 
to make their escape, had sawed through eight iron bars, 
each as thick as a man's wrist, except enough to keep them 
together, and filled up the notches with dirt and iron rust 
to prevent a discovery ; but, not succeeding in their attempt, 
the ringleaders were chained to the floor, as usual ; and the 
rest properly secured. There has been a scheme much 
talked of for pulling down the Gaol, and rebuilding it in a 
stronger and more commodious manner." "Matthew West, 
butcher, prisoner in Newgate, and ringleader of those felons 
who, lately, endeavoured to escape from that gaol, got 
himself loose from an iron Collar, in which his neck was 
fastened, and his hands extended, although he was chained 
down to the floor in the condemned room. When he got 
himself disengaged from the floor, he had the resolution to 
wring the collar from his neck, by fixing it between two of 
the bars of the gaol window, and, by main strength broke 
it short in two." 

Silas Told, who visited Newgate about this time as a 
sort of missionary among the prisoners, tells a curious story 
of a pardon. Four young fellows of good family, during an 
election of a Member of Parliament for Chelmsford, got very 
drunk, and, for pure fun, turned highwaymen for the nonce, 
and robbed a farmer. They were captured, convicted, and 
lodged in Newgate. There Lady Elizabeth Hamilton (the 
Duke of Hamilton's daughter), who was engaged to be 
married to one of the prisoners, named Morgan, frequently 
visited him ; and " this lady, like the importunate widow, set 
forth in the Gospel, went daily to his Majesty, as did also 
others, who had great influence, at her request, and pleaded 
with his Majesty for the life of Mr. Morgan ; but, at first, 
his Majesty considering it a point of injustice, as well as 
partiality, would, by no means, attend to her plaintive 


petitions. Another consideration was, that they were all 
persons of dignity and fortune, and could not plead necessity 
to palliate the enormity of the robbery, as many unhappy 
sufferers could ; therefore his Majesty said his subjects were 
not to be put in bodily fear and suffer the loss of their pro- 
perty, merely through a capricious, wanton whim : However, 
the morning prior to the execution. Lady Betty Hamilton 
appeared before his Majesty, and fell upon her knees (I 
suppose in tears, too). ' My lady,' said his Majesty, ' there 
is no end to your importunity ; I will spare his life, upon 
condition that he be not acquainted therewith till he arrives 
at the place of execution.' These documents were with the 
utmost precision attended to ; and, accordingly, Mr. Brett, 
Mr. Whalley, and Mr. Dupree were tied up to the gallows ; 
the other cart, with Mr. Morgan and two other gentlemen, 
followed ; but the sheriff, upon ordering the coach to stop, 
produced the respite sent to Mr. Morgan from his Majesty. 
'Tis hard to express the sudden alarm this made among the 
numerous multitude; and, when I turned round, and saw one 
of the prisoners out of the cart, with his halter loose, falling 
to the ground, he having' fainted away at the sudden news, 
I was instantly seized with a great terror, as I thought it 
was a rescue rather than a reprieve ; but when I beheld 
Mr. Morgan put into a coach, and perceiving that Lady 
Betty Hamilton was seated therein, in order to receive him, 
my fear was at an end, and, truly, 1 was very well pleased 
on the occasion." The other three were hanged. 

I give this picture of the hanging of John Perrot at Smith- 
field on 11th November 1761, not as any memento of his 
crime, but as a good delineation of an execution of that time. 
He was hanged for cheating his Creditors. He was in a 
large way of business, had good credit, and used it to get 
great quantities of goods, which he speedily sold. He then 
called his creditors together, and told them that he had had 
such severe losses that he could not pay them; but his books 
being in hopeless confusion, he was put in Newgate ; and it 
being afterwards found that he had retained a large sum of 
money, he was sentenced to be hanged, and duly suffered. 

Oil 7th September 1762, about two in the morning, a fire 
broke out in the Press Yard at Newgate, which seemed likely 



to develop into a conflagration. It raged for two hours and 
a half, and destroyed a building next to the College of 
Physicians. There were two prisoners burned to death, 
one Captain Ogle, a lunatic, confined as a murderer, and a 
man named Smith, who was there for robbery. None of 
the prisoners escaped. After this there was great talk of 

building a new prison, and Dance prepared plans. It was 
probably of this fire that Boswell wrote : " Many years ago 
a fire broke out in the brick part, which was built as an 
addition to the old gaol of Newgate. The prisoners were in 
consternation and tumult, calling out, ' We shall be burnt ' 
we shall be burnt ! down with the gate ! down with the gate !' 
Mr. Akerman hastened to them, showed himself at the gate, 


and having, after some confused vociferations of ' Hear him ! 
hear him !' obtained a silent attention, he calmly told them 
that the gate must not go down ; that they were under his 
care, and that they should not be permitted to escape ; but 
he could assure them they need not be afraid of being burnt, 
for that the fire was not in the prison, properly so called, 
which was strongly built with stone; and that, if they 
would engage to be quiet, he, himself, would come to them 
and conduct them to the further end of the building, and 
would not go out till they gave him leave. To this proposal 
they agreed; upon which, Mr. Akerman, having first made 
them fall back from the gate, went in, and with a determined 
resolution, ordered the outer turnkey upon no account to 
open the gate, even though the prisoners (though he trusted 
they would not) should break their word; and, by force, 
bring himself to order it. 'Never mind me,' he said, 
' should that happen.' The prisoners peaceably followed 
him while he conducted them through passages, of which he 
had the keys, to the extremity of the gaol which was most 
distant from the fire. Having, by this very judicious con- 
duct, fully satisfied them that there was no immediate risk, 
if any at all, he then addressed them thus : ' Gentlemen, you 
are now convinced that I told you true. I have no doubt 
the engines will soon extinguish the fire ; if they should not, 
a sufficient guard will come, and you shall all be taken out 
and lodged in the Compters. I assure you, upon my word 
and honour, that I have not a farthing insured. I have left 
my house that I might take care of you. I will keep my 
promise and stay with you, if you insist upon it ; but, if you 
will allow me to go out, and look after my family and 
property, I shall be obliged to you.' Struck with his be- 
haviour, they called out, ' Master Akerman, you have done 
bravely ; it was very kind of you ; by all means go and take 
care of your own concerns.' He did so, accordingly, while 
they remained, and were all preserved." 

On 7th May 1763, another attempt at escape was made by 
the prisoners, by breaking through the wall, but being over- 
heard by the turnkeys, were luckily baulked in their plan. 
Several had their irons nearly sawn through, but they were 
reironed, and the tools they had used were confiscated. 


The Gentleman's Magazine was, at this time, a favourite 
medium for ventilating social grievances, and we naturally 
turn to it to see if it says anything about Newgate, nor are 
we disappointed, for we find a great deal about it in the 
number for January 1764. Let us take up the tale where 
Noorthouck left off (p. 169). 

" Whilst these measures were carrying on, the court in 
the Old Bailey, and the whole house from top to bottom (to 
which nothing had been done in 30 years before) were 
scraped, cleansed and washed with vinegar, and the worthy 
Dr. Hales had certain herbs burnt in the Court for some 
days before the Sessions began, to obstruct any infection 
from taking place again. The leads facing the Court, and 
nearly contiguous to it, were next taken up, and a great 
quantity of filthiness taken away, which had been gathering 
there for many years before ; and the two yards under the 
leads, one for the reception of the men, and the other for 
the women prisoners, (until called upon to take their trials) 
were perfectly well cleansed and purified with vinegar : and 
another very useful precaution was then taken. It had been 
customary to arraign twenty prisoners at a time at the in- 
ward bar, which is in the centre of the Court ; so that if 
there had been any jail distemper among them, the Court 
was in great peril of catching it. To obviate which, in some 
measure, another bar, for only the arraignment of prisoners, 
was fixed within a yard of the door opening into the Court 
from the leads, and an order made, that the prisoners should, 
for the future, be arraigned at that bar only., and never above 
nine at a time, by which means, the effluvia (except in a 
brisk north wind, which blows directly in at the door) could 
not dilate itself so far into the Court as before, nor could 
the effluvia from nine prisoners, be so detrimental, as from 

"This design, although of so much importance to the 
safety of the public, dropped, however, at this time, either 
from the difficulties the expence might occasion, or from the 
notion which prevailed, that the precautions which had been 
so lately taken by the Sheriff, were sufficient ; at least, for 
the present, and nothing more was done than ordering the 
ventilators to be fixed over the jail, and the Eev. Dr. Hales 


should be desired, from the Court of Aldermen, to take the 
same under his direction, which he, accoJrdingly, saw exe- 
cuted. From that period to this time, it does not appear 
that anything material has been done to this jail. 

"But in the year 1755 the design of rebuilding and 
enlarging it was again resumed. A Committee of Aldermen 
and Commons was appointed, and an apparent progress was 
made towards undertaking this humane and so much desired 
work, when these fair hopes vanished, as it were, all at 
once ; and, if the reasons assigned are to be relied upon, the 
gentlemen were divided in their opinions as to the fitness 
of the place for rebuilding it, — some of them recommending 
the waterside near Fleet Bitch, as the best adapted spot, by 
reason of its open free air and healthy situation, whilst the 
rest were for abiding by the old spot, and by taking in the 
space of ground before mentioned ; but, against that, it was 
objected that the great street leading down to the intended 
new bridge might probably cut through the Old Bailey, and 
render the rebuilding there impracticable ; and this objec- 
tion seemed to prevail so far that the meetings afterwards 
grew thinner and thinner, till summonses availed but little ; 
and thus these well meant endeavours proved a second time 

" At the meetings of this Committee many lights were 
obtained, which may be of singular use whenever it shall 
be determined in good earnest to carry this design into 
execution. For example : — More than one plan came 
under their consideration, for rebuilding and enlarging the 
jail, and, after consulting with Mr. Dance, the City Sur- 
veyor, he had had directions to draw one for them,i cal- 
culated for the ground on which Newgate stands, with the 
addition of the space within that prison wall, and the Old 
Bailey Yard, and which he performed to the satisfaction of 
the Committee, who ordered it to be engraved, and a 
number of them to be printed off. The expence of this 
undertaking was the next point considered of, but too 
difficult to be ascertained, as it was necessary to be deter- 
mined previously whether it was to be built of stone, or 

' Engraved in Gentleman's Magazine, Sept. 1762. 




brick, or with a mixture of both together ; what were to be 
the height and thickness of the walls; and whether the 
building was to be ornamented, or plain ; and, if the former, 
to what degree ? And it was likewise taken into con- 
sideration how far the CityJ ought to contribute to the 
expence of this public undertaking ? And, here, it is proper 
to observe that the City would contribute largely to this 
work, were they only to give up the ground before men- 
tioned : that, within a certain number of years past, they 
had expended a great many thousand pounds in repairing 
the jail, and rendering it more secure ; that the jail keeper, 
with the prison allowance, are at the City's charge;. and 
the expence of holding eight Sessions at the Old Bailey 
(computed at no less than £1200 per an.) is sustained by 
the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs. These circumstances induced 
the Committee to be of opinion, whenever an application 
should be made to Parliament for leave to rebuild and 
enlarge this jail, that a proposition for a County rate, for 
a purpose in which the health of every individual in it is 
so much concerned, would not be thought unreasonable, as 
Newgate is the County jail for Middlesex. And, accordingly, 
the Lord Mayor, with such of the Aldermen who were of the 
Committee, were desired to confer with the Lord Chan- 
cellor and the Judges, as also with the Attorney and 
Solicitor Generals upon the plan, for their opinions : several 
of whom, not being at home, the plans were left at their 
houses ; but those whom they saw, expressed their approba- 
tion of it, wished success to a work so much wanted, and 
which had been so long in agitation, and promised to give 
it all the assistance in their power." 

Many people think that Charles Dickens's delineation 
of Fagin was overdrawn, but he had a prototype, at all 
events ; for on 25th March 1765 four boys, detected in 
picking pockets, were examined before the Lord Mayor, 
when one was admitted as evidence, who gave an account 
of how a man, who kept a public-house ^ near Fleet Market, 
had a club of boys, whom he instructed in picking pockets 
and other iniquitous practices; beginning with teaching 

1 The Brown Bear, at the south corner of Seacoal Lane, kept in 1765 by 
Bob Woodward, a trainer of young thieves. 


them how to pick a handkerchief out of his own pocket 
and next, his watch, until he was so adept as to be able to 
take it four times out of the publican's pocket in one 
evening without his noticing it, after which feat he was 
passed as being as expert as any thief of twenty years' 
standing. Pilfering from shops was the next branch of 
education, and his instructions to his pupils were that when 
a shop was met with, having a hatch or half door, one boy 
was to knock for admittance for some trifle, whilst another, 
lying prone close to the hatch, as soon as the boy had come 
out, the hatch ajar, and the owner withdrawn, was to crawl 
in on all fours and take the tills, or anything else he could 
meet with, and retire in the same manner as he entered. 
They were taught to break into shops by night, thus : as 
the brick walls under the shop windows were generally 
very thin, two boys were to lie under a window asleep, 
destitute beggars, as the passer-by thought; but when he 
had passed and they were alone, they, being provided with 
tools for picking out the mortar, would set to work, until 
they had made a hole large enough to creep through, the 
other boy lying before the hole, presumably asleep, to screen 
the young thief inside. Evidently being in sight of New- 
gate, and almost in its shadow, acted as no deterrent to 

On 8th February 1766, we read that "the noted Morgan 
(who lately broke out of Newgate, where he was confined 
on account of a highway robbery) was apprehended at 
Dunkirk, dressed in the uniform of an officer belonging to 
General Elliot's light horse, and which he falsely pretended 
to be, by which means he obtained clothes from a tailor to 
the amount of £37, and, likewise, obtained to the value of 
£23 from his landlord." 


Mrs. Brownrigg— Parliament's Grant to build Newgate— Dance's Plan — 
Beckford lays First Stone— Attempt to Escape — Reforms at the 
Sessions— Prisoners Bound for Transportation—" Sixteen-String Jack " 
— Escape and Recapture of Two Prisoners— Riot in Newgate— Dr. 
Dodd— Extra Cost of Newgate— Food and Occupation of the Prisoners 
— Rev. J. Hackman. 

In the chronology of Newgate we next come to Mrs. 
Elizabeth Brownrigg, who was most righteously hanged on 
14th September 1767. Originally a servant, she married a 
painter just out of Lis apprenticeship, and at the time this 
narrative dommences, the couple lived in Fetter Lane, the 
husband having a good business, and they then had three 
children living. Mrs. Brownrigg, too, was doing well in her 
way, for she used to have women in her house, to lie in 
privately; and so prosperous was she, that she wanted 
assistance, and, being of a frugal mind, she got a poor girl, 
named Mary Mitchell, from the overseers of Whitefriars 
precinct, and had her bound, apprentice, and also another 
apprentice, named Mary Jones, from the Foundling Hos- 
pital. They were probably no worse than others of their 
class, but Mrs. Brownrigg conceived an implacable hatred 
against them, beating them savagely for any or no reason. 
Mary Jones could stand it no longer. She slipped out of 
the house, and ran to the Foundling Hospital, showing her 
wounds. The Governors of. the Hospital having examined 
the child in the presence of their surgeon, found that she 
was in a very shocking condition, and ordered their solicitor 
to write to James Brownrigg, intimating that if he did not 
give a proper account of his conduct, a prosecution would 
be commenced against him. To this Brownrigg made no 
reply, so he was summoned before the City Chamberlain, 
who annulled the indentures, and the girl was free. 



Mary Mitchell had the patience and endurance to put up 
with her mistress for a twelvemonth, when she ran away, but 
was captured and brought back by young Master Brownrigg. 
Soon after this event, Mary Clififord, another poor girl was 
apprenticed to Brownrigg by the Whitefriars overseers, and 
it was not long before she experienced the same cruelties 
that had been inflicted on the others. She was, for the 
most trifling off'ence, tied up naked and beaten with a cane 

a horsewhip, a hearth-broom, or anything that came handy, 
till she was not able to speak, her strength beiijg exhausted 
by the severity of her sufferings. She had to lie in a cold, 
damp cellar, on a sack on some straw, was fed only on bread 
and water, and not enough of them. On one occasion, as a 
punishment for breaking down some boards to get at some 
water, she was made to strip naked, and kept in that con- 
dition a whole day, being every now and then beaten severely 



with the butt-end of a whip. When she had undergone 
this punishment, a chain was put round her neck, the end 
of which was fastened to the yard door, after which the 
chain was pulled as tightly as it could be without choking 
her ; and when she had been tormented in that manner for 
a whole day, she was put into the coal cellar, with the chain 
still about her neck, and her hands tied behind her, being 
left to spend the night in that manner without victuals 
or drink. 

This is only one specimen of the manner in which these 
poor girls were treated, Brownrigg sometimes helping his 
wife, and sometimes the hopeful Master Brownrigg assisted ; 
as, for instance, one day he ordered Mary ClilTord to put up 

a half tester bed, but she not being able to do it, he beat her 
till she was almost dead. Another time he came into the 
kitchen, and finding his mother had exhausted her strength 
in beating the poor orphan, he took the whip out of her hand 
and beat her more severely. 

Only one more instance of this woman's cruelty and I 
have done. On 13th July 1767, Mrs. Brownrigg, having for 
several days threatened the girls, went into the kitchen and 
stripped Mary Clifford naked, and hung her up to a staple, 
although her head and shoulders were then very sore, and 
her whole body covered with half-healed wounds, yet the 
wretch continued to beat her in the most inhuman manner. 
When she had been whipped till the blood flowed in great 
abundance, she was let down in presence of the other girl', 
Mary Mitchell, and although in the most miserable condition 


imaginable, yet she was ordered to wash herself in a tub 
filled with cold water. While she was washing herself her 
mistress struck her with the butt end of a whip on her 
lacerated shoulders ; and as the woman's fury was not 
glutted, she was tied up and used in the same barbarous 
manner no less than five times that same day. 

Soon afterwards she was seen by some one next door, and 
steps were taken, in conjunction with her mother-in-law, to 
effect her release, and Brownrigg was visited and questioned. 
He declared Mary Clifford was not there, and produced Mary 
Mitchell, which did not deceive the parties interested. So 
Mr. Grundy, the overseer, sent for a constable, who searched 
the house without finding the unhappy girl, but Mitchell 
was removed to the workhouse in spite of the bluster and 
threats of Brownrigg. On being questioned the girl told all, 
and said that Clifford was in the house, so Mr. Grundy went 
back to Brownrigg and ordered him to produce her at once. 
The man sent for his solicitor, who tried all he could to 
intimidate Mr. Grundy; but he declared he would answer 
for his conduct in any court of justice, and told Brownrigg 
that unless the girl was instantly produced, he would charge 
him with murder. His solicitor, well knowing that no bail 
could be taken in such a case, advised Brownrigg to produce 
her, which he did. The shocking state in which she made 
her appearance can scarcely be described ; her body was one 
continual ulcer, ready to mortify. 

Mrs. Brownrigg and her son escaped, but Mr. Grundy 
took Brownrigg and the two girls before the sitting alder- 
man, who committed the man to prison, and sent the girls 
to St. Bartholomew's Hospital. Mary Clifford died a few 
days afterwards ; an inquest followed, and a verdict of wilful 
murder was found against Brownrigg, his wife and son. The 
two latter were captured soon afterwards at Wandsworth, 
and they were all three indicted at tlie next Sessions ; but 
the jury found only Mrs. Brownrigg guilty of murder ; 
her husband and son being ordered to remain in prison to 
be tried for misdemeanour ; and they were afterwards con- 
victed and sentenced to six months' imprisonment in New- 
gate. Mrs. Brownrigg, very properly, was hanged on 14th 
September 1767, and Silas Told, who visited her in Newgate, 



^I'l WifcU»i \ 




1 ^ . . ^,5\. 
~ "^^ t^ ^i V? S '^ ■"< 




to administer spiritual consolation to her, tells us that before 
her death she was iu a most heavenly state of mind. But 
she had a rough reception on her way to Tyburn, which Told 
thus describes : " The time came when Mrs. Brownrigg was 
ordered into the cart, when the Eeverend Mr. James and 
myself stationed ourselves on each side of her, Mr. James 
on the right hand, and myself on the left. When we had 
fixed ourselves, I perceived that the whole powers of dark- 
ness were ready to give her a reception. Beckoning to the 
multitude, I desired them to pray for her, at which they 
were rather silent, until the cart began to move. Then they 
triumphed over her with three huzzas; this was followed 
by a combination of hellish curses. When we had passed 
through the gate, carts were placed on each side of the 
street, filled principally with women. Here I may say, with 
the greatest truth, nothing could have equalled them but the 
















damned spirits let loose from the infernal pit, and to be brief, 
this was the spirit of the wicked multitude, entirely to the 
place of execution. . . . Then some of the common cries 
from the thoughtless concourse, accompanied with dreadful 
imprecations, were. Pull her hat off, pull off her hat, that 

we may see the b s face." 

The condition of Newgate was a crying scandal, and the 
civic authorities were quite aware it. We have seen how 
they had plans drawn out, and were only waiting to know 
what their- due proportion of payment was to b6. By exer- 
cising patience this was settled, and, for the building of the 
new prison, and all the incidental expenses attending it, 
and the Sessions House adjoining. Parliament granted to the 
city £50,000. Dance again drew out plans for the building, 
which are here annexed, and, as far as the outside goes, 
identical with the "building which has lasted until now, 


solemn and severe, the very type and model of a prison. 
On 31st May 1770, William Becldord, the Lord Mayor (who 
died in office in the succeeding month), attended by the two 
sheriffs and some of the aldermen, went in state and laid 
the first stone of the new prison; and "His Lordship, after 
laying the above stone, made a present of twenty guineas to 
the workmen, and then proceeded to the Sessions House to 
try the Prisoners." 

These same prisoners were getting very unruly, for the 
Gentleman's Magazine of 1771 gives us an account of two 
imeutes in the prison in the month of October : — " Oct. 10. 
About ten o'clock at night, a conspiracy was detected at 
Newgate : a number of transports, to the amount of thirty, 
had, for some time, formed a design to break out; they 
attempted to put their scheme in execution about nine, and, 
luckily, were discovered, at the time above mentioned, by 
the keeper; who, having some suspicion of their intent, 
went in among them, and found them at work with two iron 
crows (weighing about thirty, or forty pounds each) in order 
to effect their purpose. The ring leaders were closely con- 
fined, immediately after, and every thing ended peaceably. 
Great numbers of files, saws, pins &c., were found on several 
of the transports. — Oct. 31. About eleven o'clock at night, a 
conspiracy was discovered in Newgate among the felons, 
four of whom had found means to saw off their irons, and 
had formed a desperate resolution to fight their way out ; 
but they were immediately secured by the keepers, who took 
from them a number of saws, files &c.'' 

The same periodical tells us something about the Old 
Bailey Sessions and the reforms which were taking place in 
admission of the public without payment, etc. " 23 Oct. 
1771. Between 9 and 10 o'clock in the morning, the two 
Sheriffs, Messrs. Wilkes and Bull, attended at the Old 
Bailey, to see the new regulations complied with. The 
doors and galleries of the Sessions House were ordered to be 
thrown open, and no money taken; the prisoners to be 
arraigned singly, and without fetters; and their trials to 
come on by rotation, as they stand on the list. Mr. Wilkes, 
on finding one of the gallery doors shut, sent for a carpenter, 
who broke it open.— Oct. 24. The populace pressed into the 



galleries in the Old Bailey, and the other parts of the 
Sessions House, in such numbers, and made so much noise, 
that the Court was several times stopt in the business. 
The Grand Jury for the County of Middlesex claimed their 
privilege of having a gallery in the Hall at the Old Bailey, 
to hear the trials, during the Sessions. They were ushered, 
with their foreman at their head, into the London Jury 
gallery, Sheriff Wilkes being absent ; and, on Friday, they 
were ushered in by Mr. Sheriff Wilkes, in the most obliging 
manner, who expressed, in very polite and genteel terms, 
had he been informed sooner of their coming, would have 

accommodated them better, was very glad to see them, and 
had great pleasure in serving them." But they were still 
in great dread of the jail fever, and with great reason. 
" 13 Oct. 1772. Several workmen were, this day, employed 
at the Old Bailey, in making a new Ventilator, and other 
necessary precautions to prevent the effects of any malignant 
distemper at the ensuing Sessions, several persons having died, 
who attended the last Sessions. Among other precautions, 
a contrivance is made, by a pipe, to carry the fumes of 
vinegar into the Sessions House, while the Court is sitting." 
Occasionally newspaper cuttings are met with that can- 
not be verified, as in the following instance: — "May 24. 
1772. Jack Ketch, on his return from Tyburn, robb'd a 



woman of 3s. 6d. for which he was committed to Newgate." 
Another receives some corroboration from a nearly con- 
temporary engraving. " 17 May 1772. A hundred felons 
convict, walk'd from Newgate to Blackfriars, and thence 
went, in a close lighter, on board a ship at Blackwall." 
Here we have the very scene — ^just at the time when they 
are passing by Surgeons' Hall in the Old Bailey, all chained. 

and as Shakespeare has it (1 Henry iv.. Act iii., sec. 3) going, 
'■ Two by two, Newgate fashion." (See preceding page.) 

John Eann, a very commonplace highwayman, is only 
introduced here to show the dandy of the profession, one 
who used to wear silk stockings and silk breeches, with 
eight strings to each knee, from which he acquired, and 
much boasted of, the .name of " Sixteen-string Jack." His 
biographer informs us that at one of his appearances at Bow 
Street, "his irons were tied up and decorated with blue 
ribands, and he had a bundle of flowers affixed to the breast 


of his coat, full as large as a common birch broom." We 
are afterwards informed that " his fetters were tied up with 
sixteen yards of blue ribands." We next hear that " Our 
Hero made his appearance at Bagnigge Wells, elegantly- 
dressed in a scarlet coat, tambour waistcoat, white silk 
stockings, laced hat &c., and publickly declared himself to 
be a Highwayman. Having drank pretty freely, he became 
extremely quarrelsome, and several scufHes ensued, in one of 
which he lost a ring from his finger, and when he discovered 
his loss, he said it was but an hundred guineas gone, which 
one evening's work would replace." At Barnet Eaces 
" Rann was on the course dressed like a sporting Peer of the 
first rank. He was distinguished by the elegance of his 
appearance (his waistcoat, blue satin, laced with silver) and 
was followed by hundreds from one side of the course to the 
other, whose looks expressed their pleasure and satisfaction 
to behold a genius of whose exploits the World had talked 
so freely." Of course Newgate and Tyburn soon followed; 
but, at all events, he had the satisfaction at his last trial of 
being "dressed in a new coat and waistcoat of pea green 
cloth, with new buckskin breeches, ruffled shirt, and a hat 
bound round with silver strings." 

On 12th May 1777, two brothers, William and Joseph 
Sheffield, under sentence of death in Newgate, managed to 
break out and escape, although the walls were six feet 
thick. One of them being ill, he was removed from his 
cell to an upper room, where the other was allowed to 
attend to him. They were bricklayers, and in one night 
they worked their way through the brick wall and got out. 
They were afterwards retaken and executed, but not before 
they had committed several burglaries dm-ing the short 
period they enjoyed their liberty. 

But the jail was in a disgraceful state, so much so, that on 
1st August 1777 Mr. Akerman, the keeper, waited on the 
Newgate committee, and acquainted them of the present state 
of the jail, and the daring and ungovernable behaviour of the 
Moorfields rioters, sentenced to long imprisonment some time 
since by the court at Hicks's Hall, Clerkenwell. He im- 
puted their bad conduct, and its having got to such a head, 
to his not having any places to lock up those who behaved 


ill; the cells built for refractory prisoners being, perforce, 
occupied by convicts awaiting transportation, and must 
continue to be so until the jail was entirely finished. The 
committee gave their immediate consideration to the case, 
as it was urgent, and gave orders that there should be 
erected at once, in a convenient part of the quadrangle, 
some separate rooms for the purpose mentioned ; and that 
the side of the prison, the weakness of which was known 
to, and turned to advantage by, the two Sheffields, should be 
faced with large stones, and rendered as secure as possible. 
They also resolved to give Mr. Akerman every assistance 
possible to preserve his full authority and power in the 
prison, which his situation as keeper obviously required. 

But on the night of the 19th August "a most daring 
and dangerous riot happened in Newgate among the 
prisoners there (the principal of whom were those for the 
riot and rescue in Moorfields, about three years since, who 
were confined in two separate wards), the cause whereof, or 
how it began, not being known. It seems there had been 
some quarrels among them, .which had, in some degree 
subsided. "When the turnkeys, at the usual time, locked 
them up in their different wards, about ten at night, 
they were alarmed by a very great noise of swearing and 
blasphemous language, with the breaking of windows, and 
iron casements falling into the quadrangle : on which, Mr. 
Akerman being sent for, he came into the quadrangle, and, 
inquiring into the reason of the tumult, was answered by a 
volley of oaths and brick bats, who, thereon, causing the 
door to be suddenly opened, rushed in and seized Madan, 
one of the principal ringleaders of that ward, by the collar ; 
and a struggle ensued, in which Madan, attempting to 
knock Mr. Akerman down with a brick, received a wound, 
which disabled him from doing further mischief ; when he, 
together with one Hawes, who was also wounded, and two 
others, were brought down, and put into the cells ; the rest 
of that ward were locked in, and then the confusion became 
general over that side of the prison, so that all the windows 
and casements were demolished and thrown down into the 
square. The prisoners in the opposite ward had fastened 
themselves in, and determined to do murder, if molested : 


then began their outrage in endeavouring to pull down the 
prison, and they continued in that employ all night. In 
the morning, the Lord Mayor, and one of the Sheriffs, 
on being acquainted with the tumult, went to Newgate, 
attended by Mr. Gates, and several officers, and, with Mr. 
Akerman, proceeded to the quadrangle ; when the prisoners, 
on being called to by his lordship, appeared at the windows 
of their respective wards. His lordship desired to know 
what induced them to commit this outrage, or what they had 
to complain of, that it might be redressed. Two, or three of 
the ringleaders of the other ward, were then let down, and 
taken before his Lordship in the lodge, who very humanely 
expostulated with them on this atrocious offence; they 
answered, they had no complaint against the keeper, but that 
the length of time of their imprisonment, and their poverty, 
had made them desperate. His Lordship promised that, on 
their good behaviour, and peaceable deportment during the 
continuance of their imprisonment, he would represent their 
case to his Majesty, in order to procure a remission of some 
part thereof. This ended, and Mr. Akerman generously 
forgave them the insult offered to himself, and they were 
restored to their former situations, and peace to the prison." 
The criminal event of the year 1777 in connection with 
Newgate was the incarceration therein of the Eev. Wm. 
Dodd, D.D., on the charge of forgery. He was one of the 
pet parsons of the time, who had a proprietary chapel of 
his own, in Pimlico, called Charlotte Chapel, in compliment 
to the Queen. He was prebendary of Brecon, and had been 
one of the King's chaplains, but he lost this appointment 
by a gross act of attempted simony. He had, also, been 
tutor to Philip Stanhope, nephew to Lord Chesterfield, and 
to this acquaintance with his Lordship he probably owed 
his shameful fate. He got into debt, had parted with his 
interest in Charlotte Chapel, and was in very low funds, 
when, on 1st February 1777, he offered a bond for £4200, 
purporting to be signed by Lord Chesterfield, to a stock- 
broker named Eobertson, who found the money and handed 
it over to Dodd. The bond being subsequently disowned 
by Lord Chesterfield, Dr. Dodd was arrested and brought 
before the Lord Mayor. He offered to refund the money 


and returned £3000, he drew a draft on his banker for 
£500, the broker returned £100, the Doctor gave a second 
draft for £200, and a judgment on his goods for the remain- 
ing £400, which latter was immediately acted on. In spite 
of this restitution, he was prosecuted, tried at the Old 
Bailey on 22nd February, and found guilty, but although 
recommended to mercy by the jury, he was condemned to 
death. A point of law was raised on his behalf, petitions 
in his favour (one signed by 23,000 persons) were got up, 
and pamphlets were issued by the score, but all was of no 
avail, the royal sense of justice overcame that of clemency, 
and he was hanged on 27th June, being taken to Tyburn in 
a mourning coach. It is impossible to give an idea of the 
number of people who thronged the streets to see him pass 
to execution : one contemporary account says : " On this 
occasion there was, perhaps, the greatest concourse of people 
ever drawn together by a like spectacle. From Newgate, to 
the place of execution, the streets were thronged, and never 
were seen so many weeping eyes." An account of the 
execution says : " The Kev. Dr. Wm. Dodd and another 
convict were executed at Tyburn. The spectacle, on this 
occasion, was anything but solemn. Two dogs having 
quarrelled near the gaUows foot, were incited by fellows 
near, to fight it out; the religious exercises intended to 
be entered into, were suddenly stopped, and either never 
renewed, or slurred over. The heat of the day was great, 
the dust raised, was thick, and great confusion prevailed. 
The Doctor's face looked flushed, and every appearance of 
resignation he had been able to give to his countenance, was 
quite put to the rout. The white nightcap provided to cover 
his face, was found, on trial, to be far too small, but it was 
rudely forced on, so as to cover part, only, of his visage." 

The rebuilding of Newgate was an expensive matter, as 
money must be reckoned to be worth, at least, double what 
it is now, and the following is the estimated charge of pulling 
down and rebuilding it : — " Lease hold interests to be pur- 
chased in the Old Bailey from the Mason's Yard to Newgate, 
and some houses opposite thereto, £6000. The old materials 
were to pay for taking down, and clearing away the rubbish, 
to the surface of the street. The New Prison to answer the 


late Sessions House, and to contain distinct wards for the men 
and women debtors, and men and women felons, transports 
and convicts ; a chapel, a keepers house, taphouse, sutlery, 
yards, area, ponds of water &c. which required 100 squares 
of new building, which, on account of the requisite strength, 
would cost £250 a square, £40,000. Salaries and gratuities 
to the Surveyor, the Committee clerk, the Chamberlain's clerks 
&c. £27-50. Incidental expenses £1250. Total £50,000." 
But, in the year 1778, the Corporation of London had ex- 
pended £52,585, lis. lid. upon this building ; and they gave 
up to the public, for the site and the Sessions House, a piece 
of freehold ground, 600 feet, in front of the Old Bailey, and 
about 50 in Newgate, one worth ten shillings per foot, 
running measure, and the latter was valued at fifteen shillings 
for building on, and the rent at £300 per annum. In 
addition to this they expended £14,464, 13s. 9d. of their own 
money in erecting the Sessions House, and £6250 for the pur- 
chase of freehold houses, to be taken down for making avenues 
to the jail. Many unforeseen expenses attended the execution 
of this work, amounting altogether to the sum of £19,000. 
Mr. Dance, the architect, made the following estimate of the 
sums necessary above the £50,000 granted by Parliament : — 

Due to artificers at Christmas 1777 . . £6,243 19 2 

Advanced by the Chamberlain, f xclusive of 

the produce of old materials . . 1,637 5 5 

The sum necessary to complete the gaol, 

estimated at 7,900 

To build an Infirmary .... 1,500 

Advanced by the City for the purchase of 
houses in the Old Bailey for enlarging 
the avenues to the Gaol and Sessions 
House . . . . ■ . . 6,250 

Advanced by ditto for building the Sessions 

House 14,464 13 9 

Making private passage for the prisoners, 
paving the Sessions House Yard ; Sur- 
veyor's Commission, and incidental ex- 
penses ...... 

3,204 1 7 

£41,200 p 


Of the unforeseen expenses of £19,000, alluded to above, 
one was the necessity of sinking the foundations forty feet 
in depth, owing to the site being on that of the old town 
ditch which ran round the city wall : another was the cost 
of shoring neighbouring houses, to prevent their falling. 

In 1779, Mr. Akerman gave evidence before a committee 
of the House of Commons, and, among other questions, he 
was asked, " how the convicted prisoners could subsist upon 
a penny a day each?" He answered, "that they did not, 
most of them being supplied with money and provisions 
brought them by their friends ; and that, for those who were 
poor and friendless, he provided, at his own expence, coarse 
pieces of meat, and made broth ; that, in the old gaol of 
Newgate, they used to be very sickly ; but, in the new one, 
which was far more commodious and airy, there were very 
few now unhealthy ; that he had often observed a dejection 
of spirits among the prisoners in Newgate, which had the 
effect of disease, and many had died broken hearted, and 
they were, usually, felons better behaved, and less abandoned 
than the others : that the prisoners were obliged to wash 
themselves, but it was very difficult to compel some of 
them; that all the male prisoners accused of felonies, or 
misdemeanours, associated together in the day time; the 
debtors were separated from the felons night and day, and 
the males from the females ; the convicts had no employ- 
ment, there being no place for them to work in, but he 
fancied it was meant to build one : the gaol was not yet 
finished; that he permitted some to work at their trades, 
upon their own request ; that the number of convicts was 
very inconvenient; and, if the young and robust had not 
been removed to the hulks, it would have been impossible to 
have kept them in order ; as it was, they frequently stole 
from strangers who came to see them, and robbed one 
another ; when they were unruly, he locked them up, and 
put irons on their legs; they seem to dread solitary con- 

The case of the Rev. James Hackman owes its interest 
mainly to the fact that he was a clerical murderer. Before 
he took holy orders he had been an officer in the army, 
and while with a recruiting party at Huntingdon, he was 


invited to Lord Sandwich's house at Henchinbroke, where 
he met, and fell in love with Miss Eay, his Lordship's 
mistress, a woman of elegant appearance, and a good 
musician, although of plebeian birth. After his ordination, 
his infatuation continued, and he offered her marriage, which 
she refused. He was madly jealous, and on Vth April 1779, 
having provided himself with two pistols, he met her as she 
was quitting Covent Garden Theatre, and shot her dead. 
He endeavoured to shoot himself with the other pistol, but 
failing, he tried to batter his brains out with the butts of 
the pistols. He was arrested, tried, convicted, and hanged 
on the 19th. His defence was that, though he had deter- 
mined to kill himself, his murder of Miss Ray was unpre- 
meditated. Anent this, Boswell writes : " This day, a violent 
altercation arose between Johnson and Beauclerk, which, 
having made much noise at the time, I think it proper, in 
order to prevent any future misrepresentation, to give a 
minute account of it. 

"In talking of Hackman, Johnson argued, as Judge 
Blackstone had done, that his being furnished with two 
pistols, was a proof that he intended to shoot two persons. 
Mr. Beauclerk said ' No : for that every wise man who 
intended to shoot himself, took two pistols, that he might 

be sure of doing it at once. Lord 's cook shot himself 

with one pistol, and lived-ten days in great agony. Mr. 

who loved buttered muffins, but durst not eat them because 
they disagreed with his stomach, resolved to shoot himself ; 
and then he ate three buttered muffins for breakfast, before 
shooting himself, knowing that he should not be troubled 
with indigestion : he had two charged pistols ; one was found 
lying charged upon the table by him, after he had shot him- 
self with the other.' — ' Well,' said Johnson, with an air of 
triumph, ' you see here one pistol was sufficient.' Beauclerk 
replied smartly, 'Because it happened to kill him.'" And 
then follow the details of a very pretty quarrel between 
the two. 


Lord George Gordon— Riots of 1780— Burning of Newgate— Boswell's 
Description— John Glover's Trial at the Old Bailey— Story of the Keys 
— Dennis the Hangman — Lord George Gordon's subsequent Career and 
Death — Cost of Damage done to Newgate. 

The year 1780 was an eventful one in the history of 
Newgate, for it was burnt during what are known as the Lord 
George Gordon riots. George Gordon, commonly known by 
the courtesy prefix of " Lord," was the third son of Cosmo 
Gordon, Duke of Gordon, and was born in 1750. He was 
M.P. for the borough of Ludgershall, and spoke so frequently 
in the House, that it was a common saying that " there were 
three parties in the House — the Ministry, the Opposition, 
and Lord George Gordon." In 1780, he spoke with in- 
temperate warmth against a " Bill for the Eelief of Papists 
from certain Penalties and Disabilities." Not satisfied with 
this, he collected a formidable mob, consisting of the 
members of a Protestant association, and the rabble of the 
metropolis, in St. George's Fields. As we see in the illustra- 
tion (which was published, 1st August 1780), he points to the 
Protestant petition, and has his foot on a book labelled 
" Popery." His followers were marshalled into four 
divisions. That on the left, with a marquee, and lettered A, 
was that of the Protestants of Southwark. That underneath 
it, marked B, was the London division. C, on the right, was 
Westminster, and D represented Scotland. This gathering 
took place on 2nd June, and its number was computed at 
more than one hundred thousand. These took about two 
hours, from 10 to 12 to arrange themselves, when they were 
• joined by Lord George, who harangued them for some time, 
and issued his orders how they were to proceed. By 
marching one party over London Bridge, another over 



Blackfriars Bridge, and a third over Westminster Bridge, 
they all arrived about half-past two, and surrounded both 

Houses of Parliament. Their proceedings there, and the 
subsequent riots, may be read elsewhere ; we are only con- 
cerned with what occurred at Newgate. 


The newspapers of the time give very meagre details of 
the riots, and in them I can find nothing authentic of the 
burning of Newgate. The fullest and best account, and 
that is but a short one, is the following, which is taken from 
the Gentleman's Magazine (p. 313) : — " Newgate was now their 
next concern, and to release their confined associates, the 
object they had then in view. Like regular assailants, they 
did not proceed to storm before they had offered terms. 
They called upon the keeper to release their comrades, as 
the only means to save his mansion. This, he peremptorily 
refused to do ; but, dreading what would happen, he posted 
to the Sheriffs to know their pleasure. In cases of 
emergency, delays are dangerous. While the magistrates 
were deliberating, the gaol was set on fire, and, on his return, 
Mr. Akerman found his house in flames. A party of 
constables, nearly to the number of 100, came to his 
assistance ; these the rioters suffered to pass, till they were 
entirely encircled, and then they were attacked with great 
fury, their staves broken and converted into brands, which 
were hurled about wherever the fire appeared but faintly 
kindled. It is scarce to be credited with what celerity, a 
gaol, which to a common observer appeared to be built with 
nothing that would burn, was destroyed by the flames ; nor 
is it less astonishing that, from a prison thus in flames, a 
miserable crew of felons in irons, and a company of confined 
debtors, to the number, in the whole, of more than 300, 
could all be liberated, as it were by magic, amidst flames 
and fire brands, without the loss of a single life ; some from 
the gloomy cells of darkness in which the devoted victims 
to public justice were confined, and others from inner 
apartments, to which the access, in tranquil times, was both 
intricate and difficult." This occurred on the evening of 
6th June. Pennant, speaking of Newgate, says : " A massey 
building with an extensive front of rustic work, with all the 
appearance of strength and security. Yet, in the infamous 
riots of 1780, the felons confined, even in the strongest holds 
were released ; stones of two and three tons in weight, to 
which the doors of their cells were fastened, were raised by 
that resistless species of crow, well known to house breakers 
by the name of the Pig's-foot. Such was the violence of the 



fire, that the great iron bars of the windows were eaten 
through ; and the adjacent stones vitrified." 

Boswell tells us that : " On Tuesday evening, leaving 
Fielding's ruins, they went to Newgate to demand their 
Companions, who had been seized demolishing the Chapel. 
The keeper could not release them, but by the Mayor's 
permission, which he went to ask ; at his return, he found 
all the prisoners released, and Newgate in a blaze. ... On 
Wednesday, I walked with Dr. Scot to look at Newgate, 
and found it in ruins, with the fire yet glowing. As I went 
by, the Protestants were plundering the Sessions House at 
the Old Bailey. There were not, I believe a hundred ; but 
they did their work at leisure, in full security, without 
sentinels, without trepidation, as men lawfully employed, in 
full day. . . . Upon this occasion, from the timidity and 
negligence of magistracy, on the one hand, and the almost 
incredible exertion of the mob, on the other, the first prison 
of this great country was laid open, and the prisoners set 
free; but that Mr. Akerman, whose house was burnt, would 
have prevented all this, had proper aid been sent him in due 
time there can be no doubt." 

The best account of the burning of Newgate is to be 
found in the " Sessions Papers " of the time, and I give one 
trial out of many as an example. I have chosen that of 
John Glover, who was tried at the Old Bailey, at the 
Sessions held 28th June 1780, and the following days. 
" John GtLOVEE was indicted for that he, together with five 
hundred persons and more, did unlawfully, riotously, and 
tumultuously assemble, on the 6th of June, to the disturb- 
ance of the publick peace, and did begin to demolish and 
pull down the dwelling house of Eichard Akerman, against 
the Statute, &c. 

"William Sheppaed, sworn. — I am one of Mr. Aker- 
man's servants. I was at the main gate of the prison, on 
Tuesday night, the 6th of June, when Mr. Akerman's house 
and the jail were attacked. At about seven o'clock in the 
evening, the mob assembled in a very riotous manner, armed 
with different kinds of things, bludgeons and pickaxes. At 
about eight o'clock in the evening, or rather before eight, I 
saw the prisoner at the main gate of the prison : I saw him 


through the chequers of the gate ; he was very busily 
employed with the rest. He was not the first person who 
came up with a pickaxe to the gate, but he assisted with 
a pickaxe. There is a main gate goes over the lattice. 

" Describe particularly what you saw him do ? — He took 
one of the pickaxes out of one of the men's hands, who had 
been employed at it before, and tried ' at it himself ; there 
were others afterwards employed in the same way, but, 
after all, they could not penetrate the gate so as to get in, 
Mr. Akerman's goods being thrown into the street. When 
they found they could not get in by the pickaxes and other 
tools, which they had, they placed Mr. Akerman's things 
up against the gate, and set fire to them. I saw the 
prisoner employed four, or five times, in piling up the 
things : we endeavoured to throw them down with broom- 
sticks, and to quench the fire with water. 

" Was the gate actually set on fire ?— Several times ; 
it might, as far as I know, be nine or ten times attempted. 

" How far was the prisoner from you ? — Not above a 
yard, or a yard and a half from me. 

"How long had you an opportunity of observing his 
person ? — I observed his person, as near as I can recollect, 
from between seven and eight o'clock, till near ten. 

" Are you able to say that is, or not, the man, or have 
you any doubt about it ? — -I have no doubt about it, for I 
saw him both by day light and fire light. 

" Cross- Uxamination. 

" You are one of the turnkeys ? — I am. 

" How long have you been in that employment ? — ^I 
cannot say particularly, five, or six months, under, or 

" What were you before ? — Turnkey at New Prison, till 
my master died. 

" Where were you before that ? — I belonged to Bedlam 

" This man had a pickaxe ? — Yes. 

" All the time you saw him ? — I cannot say all the time. 
He and others tried to break the lattice of the left hand 
gate to break in. 


" You say he got a broomstick afterwards ? — No, I got a 
broomstick ; I believe he might have something else, at 
first, in his hand, but he took the pickaxe in his hand at 
the gate. 

" He was not above a yard from you ? — I said not above 
a yard and a half from me. 

" You speak now of the time the prisoner was a yard 
and a half from you, at the time when the things were on 
fire at the door ? — Yes. 

" Was not the fire between you and the prisoner ? — No, 
he was between me and the fire when he came up on the 

" He piled up the wood at the door of the prison to set 
it on fire ? — Yes. 

" We heard of an iron bar, some time ago ? — They were 
armed with different kinds of weapons. 

" Have you not said the prisoner had an iron bar ? — I 
said a pickaxe. 

" Have you not said at other places he had an iron bar ? 
— No, I did not say so ; there was something mentioned of 
a gun barrel before the magistrate. 

" You said so ? — From my fellow servant saying so. 

"Did you say anything before the magistrate of the 
pickaxe ? — It was mentioned there. 

" I ask you if you mentioned it : did you, Sheppard, 
before the justice of the peace, say that this prisoner at 
the bar had a pickaxe in his hand ? — Yes, I believe I did 
say so. 

" Did you mention a gun barrel ? — No, I heard there 
was a gun barrel at Mr. Akerman's door. 

" By whom ? — Mr. Lee, I believe. 

" Have you been out of England ? — I have been in 
Yorkshire ; I have never been but at the Isle of Wight. 

" You have never been in a country where Blacks are 
the inhabitants ? — No. 

" Then you are only accustomed to see Blacks by acci- 
dent, as I am. Where were you when you saw the prisoner 
by day light? — At the gate of the prison; I was at the 
gate from morning till night. I saw several Blacks and 
Tawnies on the 8th or 9th of June. I heard there were a 


number of persona taken up, who were in the Poultry 
Compter ; I went to see if there were any who had escaped 
from Newgate. I saw the prisoner, and I said to my fellow 
servant, that is the man who set fire to our gate. 

" Did you speak to the prisoner then ? — No. I asked 
him, afterwards, whether he knew me? He said he did 

" Did not the prisoner say in your hearing, he had a gun 
barrel in his hand? — No, he did not; I might hear the 
latter part, but I do not think I did. 

" You cannot remember what passed two or three days 
ago, yet you are come to swear to the person of a Black you 
saw by candle light! — He is not dressed now as he was 
then, but I know his face perfectly well. 

'•' Court. Did you see more than one or two Blacks in the 
riot ? — Yes, there were more than one. 

"When he was examined before the Lord Mayor, you 
went to give evidence against him ? — I did. 

" Did you tell the Lord Mayor everything you remem- 
bered which you thought material ? — Yes, to all the 
questions which were asked me. 

" Were you not asked to tell all you knew ? — I do not 
know that ; I did tell all I knew at that time. 

"Did you not know it was your duty to tell the 
magistrate all you knew upon the subject ? — Certainly. 

" Why did you not tell all you knew ? — I answered 
all the questions that were put to me, as far as I know. 

" Were you not asked about the prisoner, and what you 
had seen him do ? — Certainly. 

" Did you tell the magistrate that the prisoner took a 
pickaxe out of another man's hand? — To the best of my 
knowledge, I mentioned it. 

" Is it true what you have said ? Now, did you see 
the man take the pickaxe out of another man's hand ? — It 
is true. 

" William Lee, sworn. — I am a servant of Mr. Akerman ; 
I was in the hall at the great gate when the mob came, 
which was about seven o'clock, but the gate was not attacked 
at that time. When it was attacked, I was at the debtors' 


" Did you see the prisoner in the course of that night ? — 
Yes, but he was dressed in a rough short jacket, and had a 
round hat, with dirty silver lace upon it. It was very near 
nine o'clock. When I saw him, he was standing on the 
steps, thumping with somewhat, but I do not know what, 
against the gate; another man was chopping at it with a 
hatchet, which split it, and some pieces fell off. I was not 
half a yard from him at the time I was in the street; I 
suppose I stayed five minutes at that time. I saw him at 
the Poultry Compter on the 8th or 9th of June, I believe. 
My master sent us to see if we knew any of the persons who 
were taken up. I saw the prisoner ; I asked him how he 
came to behave in that manner with the iron bar ? He said. 
No, it was not an iron har, it loas his master's gun barrel. I 
am positive he was the man." 

This evidence was not shaken in cross-examination. 

"Charles Burkitt, sworn. — I am a servant of Mr. 
Akerman : when the prison was attacked, I was inside the 
Press yard. I saw the prisoner at nine o'clock, as near as 
I can guess, upon the steps which lead to the felon's gate, 
which is the main gate : I observed him have, as I thought, 
an iron bar in his hand, which was afterwards confessed to 
be a gun barrel ; I looked through the lattice of the gate ; 

he attempted to poke it in my face. They said D n 

you, open the gate and let the prisoners out, or we ivill iurn 
Newgate down. I saw him again, about half an hour after, 
in the same place ; there was then some fire before the gate ; 
and, with the instrument he had in his hand, he pushed the 
fire against the gate, in order to burn it. 

" How many days was it after this, before you saw him 
again ? — I think it was on Thursday the 8th. I then saw 
him in the Compter ; I saw him through the gate. I said 
this is the man who burnt the gate down. 

"Did you see any other Black there? — This I call a 
copper coloured person: I saw a different kind of Black. 
I spoke to him, and said. Friend, you are not in the situation 
you were in upon the steps of Newgate with an iron har in 
your liand. He said, No, it was not an iron har, it was his 
master's gun barrel. 

" Who was present ? — Eichard Hilliard. 


" Cross-Examination. 

" This is the same gate Sheppard was at ? — Yes. 
Sheppard was backwards and forwards, throwing water 
to cool the fire. 

'' It was quite dark, only the light that came from the fire, 
at this time ? — It was not very dark at that time of night. 

"Was there not a vast glare of light? — Yes, between 
nine and ten o'clock, the gate was opened at the desire of 
Mr. Alderman Wooldridge ; then I was close to him ; I had 
a perfect view of him. 

" Court. — What did you say when Mr. Alderman 
Wooldridge was there ? — He stood close to the gate when 
I opened it; I had a perfect view of him. 

" You would not have known this was a gun barrel, if 
the prisoner had not told you so himself ? — I imagined by 
the sound against the gate that it was an iron bar. 

" Had he it when you opened the gate to Alderman 
Wooldridge ? — Yes. 

" EiCHARD HiLLiAED, swom. — I am servant to Mr. West, 
the keeper of the Poultry Compter. We had a matter of a 
hundred prisoners brought in ; Mr. Al<erman's three ser- 
vants came to see if they knew any of them ; they went in, 
and pitched upon this Black before they had been there five 
minutes ; some words arose between Burkitt and him about 
.an iron bar : all tlie answer I heard the prisoner make, was, 
it was not an iron bar, hut Ms master's gun barrel. 

" — ~ West, sworn. — I am Keeper of the Poultry 
Compter; it was on Friday the prisoner declared to his 
master, in my hearing, that it was a gun barrel, and that 
he took it out of his apartment. 

" Prisoner. — I leave my defence to my Counsel. 

" For the Prisoner, — ■ — ■ Saville, sworn. — I am a watch- 
maker, and live in a court on Snow Hill. 

" Did you make any observation on the mob on Tuesday 
night, as they came this way ? — I did : about seven o'clock, 
on Tuesday evening, I think it was the 6 th of June, I had 
heard the mob had determined to destroy Newgate. I heard 
the mob coming in a very formidable manner. I came upon 
Snow Hill, and stood upon the kerb stone, within half a yard 


of some of the mob as they passed by, to the amount, I 
believe, of 500. 

" Did you see any Black in that mob ? — I did, a very 
remarkable person ; I should know him ten years hence, if 
I saw him. 

" Was he very active ? — Yes, he had something which 
seemed to be the spoke of a wheel. 

" Do you think the prisoner is the man ? — I do not : a 
gentleman told me his black servant was taken up; he 
desired me to go and see if the man in the Compter was 
the man I saw. I went and saw him, and am very certain 
it was not the prisoner. 

'' If there were any other Black in the mob, is it not 
probable you must have seen him ? — Many of the mob had 
passed before I came out ; I did not see any other : I saw 
the Black afterwards, who passed me, upon the top or Mr. 
Akerman's house, very active. 

" Court. — Did you go to Newgate ? — I did, about a quarter 
after seven o'clock : then I saw the Black there whom I had 
seen before ; he had a piece of linen shaking out of the 
window of the one pair of stairs. I was opposite Mr. 
Akerman's house. 

"James M'Mahon, swor??. — You are in the army? — 
I am. 

" Were you in the neighbourhood the night Newgate was 
destroyed by the mob ? — I was on Snow Hill, within a few 
yards of St. Sepulchre's church ; as soon as the men with 
the pickaxes passed me, a Black came by me ; he had a 
bludgeon in his hand like the spoke of a coach wheel ; he 
passed me smiling : he struck the ground with his stick and 
said, Noiv, Newgate. As soon as I heard that a Black was 
taken, I went into the Poultry Compter to see if it was the 
same, but it was a different person. I did not see any other 
Black, and if there had been another, I could, very easily, 
have distinguished him. 

" Phillips, Esqre., sworn. — The prisoner at the bar 

was my servant. He was ordered to go from my house in 
Westminster to my chambers in Lincoln's Inn, to bring a 
drawer with some papers; he was ordered to bring away 
everything but the heavy articles. 


" Was there any gun barrel ? — Yes, with neither lock nor 
stock, it had been tried and had burst. 

'' How long has the prisoner lived with you ? — About 
twelve years ; he was a quiet, sober, and honest servant. 

"Had he any opportunities of being connected in any 
respect with these rioters ? Had he been out in the course 
of the day ? — I believe he had not, indeed. I have trusted 
him with large sums of money. 

" The gun barrel was in the chambers at the time ? — Yes, 
I believe it was. 

" What time did he return ? He has never returned since. 

" Guilty. — Death:' 

The keys of the prison were stolen, but years afterwards 
found in a somewhat strange place. Southey, in his Common 
Place Book (4th series, p. 371) says — " On draining the basin 
in St. James's Square for the purpose of erecting a statue of 
King William there, the keys of Newgate were found which 
were stolen when it was burnt in the riots of 1780. A 
quantity of chains and fetters, many ale house pewter pots, 
a pocket book, some cards and false dice, a number of horse 
shoes, some shillings, and two or three guineas." But there 
is another account of them given in Notes and Queries (5th 
series, vol. iii., 167). "The following was told me the other 
day by a person who heard the story from the son of the 
lady who was one of the actors in it. At the time of the 
Gordon riots in 1780, the lady alluded to was residing in 
Spring Gardens, near St. James's Park. On the afternoon 
of the day on which Newgate was destroyed, her man servant 
rushed into the room in great excitement and apparent alarm, 
holding out some large keys, and exclaiming, ' What am I to 
do with these. Ma'am?' In answer to her inquiries, he 
stated that they had been thrust into his hands, by one of 
the ringleaders of a mob which he had just met in the street. 
Fearing that the man might be compromised if it were dis- 
covered that he had in his possession the keys of a prison 
just destroyed by rioters, she advised him to say nothing 
about it to any one, and to get rid of his troublesome wind- 
fall, by throwing them into the water in St. James's Park. 



This advice he followed, and when the water was cleaned 
out some few years since, the keys of Newgate were found 
at the bottom." 

By the way, Dennis, the hangman was not hanged for 
complicity in the Newgate riot, but for helping to pull down 
the dwelling-house of Edward Boggis. The two illustrations 
here given of the burning of Newgate show the scene very 
graphically, and they are trustworthy, being contemporary, 
one being pubhshed in 1780, the other in 1781. 

In connection with these riots one hundred and ninety 
two people were convicted, and twenty-five executed. Lord 
George Gordon was sent to the Tower on 9th June, and 
kept a prisoner there for eight months. He was tried at the 
King's Bench, on 5th February 1781, for high treason, but was 
acquitted, as there was no proof of his complicity in the 
riots. In 1786 he became a Jew, after the Quakers had 
refused him admission into their society ; and he seems to 
have had' a great hankering after Newgate, to which place 
he endeavoured to obtain admission, in the expectation of 


there finding converts to his ideas on the utility of trans- 
portation and hanging. On 6th June 1787 he was tried at 
the King's Bench on an information for having written and 
published a pamphlet, entitled A Petition to Lord George 
Gordon from the Prisoners in Newgate, praying for Ms inter- 
ference, and that he would secure their liberties, hy preventing 
them from being sent to Botany Bay. The incriminatory 
passage quoted in the information was, " At a time when the 
nations of the earth endeavour, wholly, to follow the laws of 
God, it is no wonder that we, labouring under our severe 
sentences, should cry out from our dungeons and ask redress. 
Some of us are about to suffer execution without righteous- 
ness, and others to be sent off to a barbarous country. The 
records of justice have been falsified, and the laws profanely 
altered by men like ourselves. The bloody laws against us 
have been enforced, under a nominal administration, by mere 
whitened walls, men who possess only the show of justice, 
and who have condemned us to death, contrary to law." 
For this he was found guilty, as also, a week later, for two 
libels on Marie Antoinette, and the Empress of Eussia. He 
was sentenced to five years' imprisonment in Newgate, then 
to pay a fine of £500, and find two securities for his good 
behaviour in £2500 apiece. These latter he could not find, 
so was sentenced to ten months longer imprisonment. Not 
relishing this, he fled to Amsterdam, but was extradited, and 
went to live quietly at Birmingham, where he was taken, 
and lodged in Newgate. Here, having plenty of money, he 
lived a pleasant life, giving dinner parties and balls — yet 
conforming in all things to the Jewish faith.^ At length he 
caught the jail fever, and died in Newgate on 1st November 
1793. The Jews refused his body burial in their cemetery, 
and he was interred on' 9th November, with the utmost 
privacy, in a vault in St. James's Burying Ground, in the 
Hampstead Eoad. 

Newgate was unfinished at the time of the riots, but so 
much damage was done that £30,000 was necessary for the 

' In the British Museum is a copper medalet the size of a halfpenny. 
Ob. Bust of Lord George Gordon, with long beard, and broad brimmed hat, 
as a Jew ; leg. Ld. Geo. Gordon died in Newgate, 1st Nov. 1793. Mev. 
View of Sessions House ; leg. Sessions House, Old Bailey. 


repairs, which sum was chiefly supplied by the House of 
Commons, as we find, 16th May 1782. " The same day, the 
Eeport of the Committe to examine the petition of the City 
of London, respecting the repairs of the jail of Newgate was 
brought forward, and £10,000 granted, in part, for that 


John Howard — His Reports on Newgate — His Death — Statue in St. Paul's — 
Unsuccessful and Successful Attempts to Escape — Executions changed 
from Tyburn to Newgate, 1783 — Execution and Burning of Women — 
" The Dead Hand "— " The Monster." 

It was about this time that John Howard (generally known 
as the philanthropist), a gentleman of fortune, F.E.S. and 
LL.D., awoke to the terrible state of the prisons both at 
home and abroad. In 1773 he was High Sheriff of Bed- 

fordshire, and it was then, in his official capacity, that he 
was brought face to face with the horrible condition of the 
country prisons. From that time he set himself the task of 
visiting the prisons throughout England and Wales, and 
reporting thereon ; and in 1777 he produced a quarto volume, 
entitled The State of the Prisons in England and Wales, with 
preliminary observations, and an account of some foreign 
prisons. The following is his report on : — 



' Gaolee. Bichard Akerman. 

Salary £200. 

Fees, Debtors . . £0 8 10 
Felons . . 18 10 


I or Fines . . 14 10 

Transports . . . 14 10 

Licence, for Beer and Wine. 

' Pkisonees. 

Allowance to 

Debtors! , , „ 
Felons )^ P^™^ ^°^^ ^ *^*y- 

Garnish, Debtors . . £0 5 6 

Felons . . 2 6 

Number of Debtors Felons &c. 

1775, March 5 33 190 

1776, March 1 38 129 

May 17 46 212 

Dec. 26 33 152 

" Chaplain. Rev. Mr. Villette. 

Duty — Sunday twice ; every day Prayers ; 

Once a month, Sacrament. 
Salary, £35, &c. 

"SUEGEON. Mr. Olney. 

Salary, £50, for all Prisoners. 

" The Builders of Old Newgate seem to have regarded, in 
their plan, nothing but the single article of keeping prisoners 
in safe custody. The rooms and cells were so close as to be 
almost the constant seats of disease arid sources of infection, 
to the destruction of multitudes, not only in the Prison, but 
abroad. The City had, therefore, very good reason for their 
resolution to build a new Gaol. Many inconveniences of the 
old Gaol are avoided in this new one; but it has some 


manifest errors. It is now too late to point out particulars. 
All I will say, is, that without more than ordinary care the 
prisoners in it will be in great danger of the Gaol Fever. 

" The Cells built in Old Newgate a few years since for 
condemned malefactors are intended for the same use at 
present. I shall, therefore, give some account of them. 
There are upon each of the three floors, five cells : all vaulted, 
near nine "feet high to the crown. The cells on the ground 
floor measure full nine feet, by near six ; the five on the first 
storey are a little larger, on account of the set off in the wall ; 
and the five uppermost, still a little larger, for the same 
reason. In the upper part of each cell is a window double 
grated, near three feet by one and a half. The doors are 
four inches thick. The strong stone wall is lined all round 
each cell with planks, studded with brass-headed nails. In 
each cell is a barrack bedstead. I was told by those who 
attended me that criminals who had affected an air of bold- 
ness during their trial and appeared quite unconcerned at 
the pronouncing sentence upon them were struck with 
horror, and shed tears when brought to these darksome 
solitary abodes. 

" The New Chapel is plain and neat. Below are three or 
four pews for men felons &c. On each side is a gallery : 
that towards the women's ward is for them ; in it is a pew 
for the keeper, whose presence may set a good example and 
be otherwise useful. The other gallery towards the debtor's 
ward is for them. The stairs to each gallery are on the 
outside of the Chapel. 

" I went once to Prayers there. Mr. Villette read them 
distinctly, and with propriety ; the few prisoners who were 
present seemed attentive; but we were disturbed by the 
noise in the yard. Mr. Villette told me ' that was always 
the case, even on Sundays.' Surely they who will not go to 
chapel, who are by far the greater number, should not be 
suffered to hinder the edification of such as are better 

"The Chaplain(oic Ordinary), besides his Salary, has a House 
in Newgate Street, clear of Land Tax ; two Freedoms yearly, 
which commonly sell for twenty five pounds each; Lady 
Barnardiston's legacy, six pounds a year ; an old legacy paid 


by the Governors of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, ten pounds 
a year ; the City generally presents him once in six months 
with another Freedom. He engages, when chosen, to hold 
no other living. 

" Debtors have, every day, from the Chamber of London 
sixteen stone of beef; Fines eight stone; and, some years, 
Felons eight stone. Debtors have several legacies. I inquired . 
for a list of them, and Mr. Akerman told me ' The Table in 
Maitland's Survey was authentic' The amount of it is £53, 
5s. 8d. a year. He said there were also a few more." 

In 1789 was published An Account of the present State of 
the Prisons, Houses of Correction, and Hospitals in London 
and Westminster. Taken from a late publication of John 
Howard, Esq., F.B.S., which is simply the record of a later 
visit. As to Newgate, he says that after his visit in 1776 
there was "No alteration. In three or four rooms there 
were near one hundred and fifty women crowded together, 
many young creatures with the old and hardened, some of 
whom had been confined upwards of two years : on the 
men's side, likewise, there were many boys of twelve or 
fourteen years of age; some almost naked. In the men's 
infirmary there were only seven iron bedsteads ; and, at my 
last visit, there being twenty sick, some of them, naked and 
with sores, in a miserable condition, lay on the floor with 
only a rug. There were four sick in the infirmary for 
women, which is only fifteen feet and a half, by twelve ; has 
but one window and no bedsteads ; sewers offensive ; prison 
not whitewashed. Keeper's salary £450, in lieu of the tap. 
I found some of the debtors had, in their apartments, casks 
of beer for sale ; and, on the felon's side, a person stood with 
cans of beer. At my last visit, I went over the wards of 
the criminals with Mr. Curtis, the new Sheriff, from whose 
activity and zeal I would hope something may be done for 
the naked objects left by the late sheriffs. — The allowance 
of bread should be weighed in the gross, and delivered to the 
prisoners every day. Unless the debtors be removed to give 
room to the separation of the other prisoners, and a reform 
be made in the prisons, an audacious spirit of profaneness 
and wickedness will continue to prevail among the lower 
class of the people in London. 

2 24 


" 1787. March 18. Debtors 

Felons &c. 

" 1788. Aug. 26. Debtors 

499. viz. 

"Men debtors 96., Women 12; County Court debtors, 5; 
Excise debtor, 1 ; Capital Convicts, 10 men and 1 woman ; 

capital Convicts respited, 63 men and 19 women ; transports, 
183 men and 103 women ; fines, 40 men and 4 women ; for 
trial, 57 men and 19 women." 

From England, Howard went all over Europe visiting 
the prisons in every country, and, afterwards, he conceived 
the plan of visiting the continental lazarettos. He even 
subjected himself to the inconvenience of quarantine in his 


zeal for investigation. Such, however, was to cost him his 
life. ^ He had visited and noted the bad condition of the 
Eussian military prisons; and, hearing that the Eussian 
army on the borders of Turkey was in a very sickly state, 
he went to Kherson, and there died on 20th January 1790 
of camp fever. He was buried out there, but his memory is 
kept green here by his statue in St. Paul's, sculptured by 
Bacon, which stands on the left side of the choir, and it has 
the reputation of being the first statue ever placed in tbe 

In the accompanying illustration we have a somewhat 
gruesome picture of the condemned hold, which, however, is 

partly enlivened by the spiritual consolations of a clergy- 
man, probably the ordinary. 

On 7th April 1778, about two o'clock a.m., the debtors 
in one part of the old jail of Newgate, which was still 
remaining on the north side of Newgate Street, attempted 
to make their escape; and would probably have effected 
it if some persons in the neighbourhood, who were alarmed 
at the noise, had not given notice of it to Mr. Akerman, 
who soon arrived with proper assistance, when it was found 
that the prisoners had broken from their upper apartments, 
and had got to the lower outward door. They were secured, 
and a guard left to prevent another attempt. 


On 2nd July 1782, about eight o'clock in the morning, 
five felons made their escape from Newgate, among whom 
were two men named Weston. They had managed to saw 
their irons off; and, as soon as the turnkeys unlocked their 
rooms, they rushed on them, firing two pistols, which, 
happily, hurt no one. They then took the keys and let 
themselves out, some running towards Smithfield, the Fleet, 
and ISTewgate Market. One of the Westons was taken in 
Cock Lane, after firing another pistol and wounding a 
porter in the cheek ; the other was captured in Smithfield, 
and two others in Fleet Street. They were brought back, 
and ironed to the floor ; but one — a coiner— made good his 

Executions at Tyburn ceased in 1783, and from that 
time Newgate was the scene of capital punishment for 
Middlesex. The following newspaper cutting is pathetic : — 
" Feb. 2, 1785. This morning twenty men were hung from 
the platform before Newgate. These were, etc. [The 
names and reported crimes of the parties we omit ; but 
there was not one murderer amongst them.] Before 
going out, the unhappy criminals kissed each other in the 
Quadrangle, then marched on solemnly, two and two, singing 
a funeral hymn." 

We have seen the case of Catherine Hayes, who was 
burnt alive ; here are some more examples of women being 
burnt : " 27 Oct. 1779. At seven o'clock this morning, 
four convicts were taken from Newgate to Tyburn to die. 
Three were hanged ; but one, Isabella Condon, who had 
coined some shillings and sixpences, was fastened to a stake, 
the faggots about it lighted, and her body consumed to 
ashes. She cried bitterly, and declared that the last part 
she had to undergo, afflicted her beyond every other considera- 
tion." "June 22, 1786. Six men and one woman were, 
this morning, executed before Newgate — namely four for 
robbery, one man for coining and counterfeiting a half- 
penny ; the woman, named Harris, for assisting in counter- 
feiting some shilling pieces. Soon after the unhappy men 
were dead, twelve persons went upon the scaffold, and 
had the hands of the deceased repeatedly rubbed by the 
executioner, upon their faces and necks, as a supposed cure 



for the protuberances called wens. About a quarter of an 
hour after the platform had dropped, the female convict 
was led by two officers of justice from Newgate to a stake 
fixed in the ground, about mid way between the scaffold 
and the pump. The stake was about eleven feet high, and 
on the top of it, was inserted a curved piece of iron to which 
the end of the halter was tied. The prisoner stood on a low 
stool, which, after the ordinary had prayed with her a 
short time, was taken away, she was suspended by the neck, 
her feet being scarcely more than twelve or thirteen inches 
from the pavement. Soon after the signs of life had ceased, 
two cart loads of faggots were placed around her, and set 
on fire. The flames presently burning the halter, the convict 

fell a few inches, and was then sustained by an iron chain 
passed over her chest, and affixed to the stake. Some 
scattered remains of the body were perceptible in the fire 
at half past ten o'clock : the fire had not quite burnt out 
even at twelve. Phoebe Harris was a well made little 
woman, something more than thirty years of age, of pale 
complexion, and not disagreeable in features. When she 
went out of prison she appeared both languid and terrified, 
and trembled greatly as she advanced to the stake, where 
the apparatus for the punishment she was about to experience, 
seemed to strike her mind with horror and consternation, to 
the exclusion of all power of recoUectedness in preparation 
for the awful approaching moment." 


The application of a hanged criminal's hand as a cure 
for wens was a superstition which lingered for a long time, 
as is shown in a catch-penny broadsheet of the execution 
of W. H. Hollings for the murder of Elizabeth Pitcher. The 
text says : " After they had hung some time, three females 
were introduced, for "the application of ' the dead man's 
hand,' supposed to remove marks, wens, &c. The first was 
a young woman of interesting appearance, who was so 
much affected by the ceremony, that she was obliged to 
be supported." 

" 25 June 1788. Margaret Sullivan was burnt at a 
stake set up in the Old Bailey, for having aided others in 
coining base money." 

The last woman who was judicially burned in England 
was Christian Bowman or Murphy, who suffered at the Old 
Bailey, 18th March 1789, for coining. There is nothing 
uncommon in her story. Originally a servant, she married, 
but was deserted by her husband; she then lived with a 
man named Murphy, a coiner. Of course they were found 
out, tried, and condemned to death. The man was hanged, 
and the woman burned, Blackstone gives the following 
curious reason for this punishment : — " In treasons of every 
kind, the punishment of the woman is the same, and different 
from that of men. For, as the decency due to the sex for- 
bids the exposing and publicly mangling their bodies, the 
sentence is, to be drawn to the gallows, and there to be 
burned alive." This law was altered by 30 Geo. iii. c. 48 
(1790), which provided that, after 5th June 1790, women 
under this sentence should be hanged. 

The inmates of Newgate were not all charged with 
capital crimes, but very many were cases of theft, etc., 
petty crimes and misdemeanours, of which no record has 
been kept. But, about this time, there must be made an 
exception in " THE MONSTEE." In the early spring of 
1790, murmurs were heard of ladies being attacked and 
stabbed by a monster in human form. Indeed, even before 
that, and as far back as May 1788, a Mrs. Smith had been 
stabbed in the upper part of her thigh by a man in Fleet 
Street; in May 1789, Mrs. Godfrey was similarly stabbed 
in Boswell Court, Fleet Street, and another lady was left 



wounded at her door. In March 1790, Mrs. Blaney, of 
Bury Street, was stabbed at her door, whilst waiting to be 
let in. Pubhcity being given to these outrages, it was 
found that a young lady, named Porter, had been stabbed 
whilst, in the company of her sisters, returning from the 
drawing-room at St. James's on the 18th January, the 
Queen's birthday ; and since then several people had been 

wounded by this miscreant, who, fortunately, always failed 
in doing serious injury to his victims. 

Mr. John Julius Angerstein (to whose collection of 
pictures we owe the nucleus of the National Gallery), who 
was always to the front on social questions, offered £50 for 
the apprehension of " the Monster," and afterwards increased 
the reward by £20. It was a veritable scare, and deservedly 


so. One lady escaped injury owing to having an apple in 
her pocket, on which the following rhyme was made : — 

" The apple was, in days of yore, 

An Agent to the Devil, 
When Eve was tempted to explore 

The sense of good and evil ; 
But present chronicles can give 

An instance quite uncommon. 
How that, which ruined Mother Eve, 

Hath saved a Modern 'Woman." 

Almost every day brought its tale of some woman being 
stabbed ; and one being injured in St. Pancras parish, a 
meeting of the inhabitants was called, and an association 
was formed " to nightly patrol the streets of the South 
division of St. Pancras, from half an hour before sunset, till 
eleven at night, for the public safety, and especially to 
guard that sex, which a Monster, or Monsters, in opposition 
to the dictates of nature, and humanity, have dared to 
assault and wound, with wanton and savage cruelty." The 
caricaturists took the matter up, treating it as a joke, which 
it was not, and suggesting that ladies should wear copper 
petticoats, which is here given. Another was a fearful 
monster " going to take his afternoon luncheon," or devour 
a pretty girl. But it was far beyond a joke. As one news- 
paper, in all seriousness, said : " The Monster is now a 
mischief of more than common magnitude. Inhuman 
himself, the villainy is visited upon all who are of the 
same sex; alike the source of apprehension, terror and 
flight. It is really distressing to walk our streets towards 
evening. Every woman we meet, regards us with mistrust, 
shrinks sidling from our touch, and expects a poignard to 
pierce what gallantry and manhood consider as sacred." 

But his race was run — for, as one of his victims. Miss 
Porter, before mentioned, was walking in St. James's Park 
on 13th June with a gentleman named Coleman, " the 
Monster" passed her. She at once recognised him, and 
her agitation being remarked by Mr. Coleman, she said, 
" There is the wretch who wounded me." Mr. Coleman, 
leaving her with her friends, followed the man, who after 
twisting and dodging about, was finally run to earth, 


captured, and taken to Mr. Porter's house, where he was 
unhesitatingly recognised. He was at once given into 
custody. He proved to be a native of Wales, named 
Renwick (or Ehynwick) Williams, aged about twenty-three, 
who had been sent, when young, to London, and bound 
apprentice to Sir John Gallini, a ballet master, with a 
view to his becoming a dancer on the stage. A misunder- 

standing as to the disappearance of a watch severed this 
connection, and he then led a very loose life. For some 
little time, about two months, he was a lawyer's clerk, but 
this employment being only temporary, he was reduced to 
difficulties, until he met with Mr. Aimable Miohell, of 
Dover Street, who taught him artificial fiower-making, and 
with whom he remained until his arrest. 



Eoyalty and the aristocracy flocked to his examinations, 
He was identified by many of his victims, and sent for trial ; 
when, owing to the novelty of the crime, there was great 
difficulty as to framing his indictment ; but it was settled 
that he should be tried under 6 Geo. i. c. 23, s. 11, which 
made it felony, punishable with seven years' transportation, 


Ur? WUhanis _ The. MONSTER. 

to assault any person in the public streets, with intent to 
tear, spoil, cut, burn, or deface the garments, or clothes of 
such person, or persons, provided the act be done in pursu- 
ance of such intention. There was no doubt as to the facts, 
and the jury, without hesitation, found him guilty. The 
judge, however, said this was a novel case, and as he had 


some doubts as to the indictment he would respite judgment 
until he had laid the case before the twelve judges. So it 
was postponed till the December sessions. This was on the 
8th July, so that it gave Williams nearly six months to 
enjoy himself in Newgate; and this he did, if we can 
believe the following, taken from The Oracle of 20th August, 
which gives an account of "the Monster's Ball":— "The 
depravity of the times was manifested last week, in an 
eminent degree, in Newgate. The Monster sent cards of 
invitation to about twenty couple, among whom were some 
of his alibi friends, his brothers, sisters, several of the 
prisoners, and others, whom we shall take a future oppor- 
tunity to notice. At four o'clock, the party sat to tea ; this 
being over, two violins struck up, accompanied by a flute, 
and the company proceeded to exercise their limbs. In the 
merry dance, the cuts and entrechats of the Monster were 
much admired, and his adroitness in that amusement must 
be interesting, from the school in which he acquired this 
branch of his accomplishments. About eight o'clock, the 
company partook of a cold supper, and a variety of wines, 
such as would not discredit the most sumptuous gala, and 
about nine o'clock departed, that being the usual hour for 
locking the doors of the prison." 

Early in November eleven judges met in Serjeant's Inn 
Hall, to argue the question of his indictment, and nine of 
them found that it was bad in point of law, and that he 
could only be guilty of misdemeanour. On 13th December 
he was again put on his trial, and this time he was found 
guilty of three assaults, for each of which he was sentenced 
to two years' imprisonment in Newgate ; and at the end of 
six years he was to find bail for good behaviour for seven 
years, himself in the sum of two hundred pounds, and two 
sureties in one hundred pounds each. What became of " the 
Monster," I do not know. 


Barrington, the Pickpocket — Kiot in Newgate — Hangman wants Increased 
Wages — Base Coin finished in Newgate — Inside Newgate in 1815 — 
Governor Wall — Bellingham shot Mr. Perceval. 

Another inmate of Newgate, who took care never to bring 
his neck within the compass of a noose, was George 
Barrington, the prince of pickpockets. Cartouche was his 
only rival in their particular line, but Barrington certainly 
was no mere common pickpocket, only fit to figure in the 
Newgate Calendar; he possessed talents which, had they 
been properly directed on his first setting out in life, might 
have enabled him l^o play a distinguished part, either in 
literature or in business. But, unfortunately, very early in 
his youth, poverty led him to adopt theft as his professed 
vocation ; and, by his ingenuity and constant practice, he 
contrived to render himself so expert as almost to have 
conducted his depredations on systematic rules, and elevated 
his crime into a " high art." Barrington, too, by his winning 
manners, gentlemanly address, and the fair education he 
contrived to pick up, was a man eminently fitted (if such an 
expression may be allowed) for his profession ; his personal 
appearance was almost sufficient to disarm suspicion, and 
this, in all probability, contributed greatly to the success 
which he met with in his career. He commenced his 
depredations in Ireland, and when that became too warm for 
him, he came to England ; and, naturally, to London. Here, 
being very well dressed, by his insinuating address, and his 
frequenting the best places, such as Brighton, Eanelagh, etc., 
he became acquainted and intimate with the Duke of 
Ancaster, Lord Ferrars, Lord Lyttleton, and many other 
noblemen, who all considered him as a man of genius and 
ability (which he certainly was), and were under the 
impression that he was a gentleman of fortune and family. 



After living at the expense of the pockets of his new- 
found friends as long as he deemed it prudent, he returned to 
London, and began a dissolute and profligate career; but, 
though his time was pretty well employed between his 
infamous occupation and his amusements, he yet found 
opportunity for intervals of study and literary pursuits, and 
composed several odes and poems, which are said to have 
been not devoid of merit. In the winter of 1775, he went 
into partnership with a rogue named Lowe, a receiver of 
stolen goods, and from that time his fortunes began to 
decline. Not that he did not make some very good hauls, as 
on one occasion, when he went to Court, on the Queen's 
birthday, disguised as a clergyman, in the hopes of not only 
picking the pockets of the company ; but, what was a far 
bolder and more novel attempt, of cutting off the diamond 
stars of the Knights of the Garter, Bath, or Thistle, who, on 
such days, generally wore the ribands of their respective 
orders over their coats. In this enterprise he succeeded 
beyond the most sanguine expectations that could have 
been formed either by himself or his partner, for he 
managed to take a diamond star from a nobleman, and to 
get away from St. James's unsuspected. But this prize was 
too valuable to dispose of in England, and it is said to have 
been sold to a Dutch Jew, who came over from Holland 
twice a year on purpose to buy stolen goods, for eight 
hundred pounds. This only whetted his appetite for yet 
more profitable plunder, and a chance for his skill soon 
presented itself. 

In the course of the same winter. Prince Orloff, a 
Eussian nobleman of the first rank and consequence, visited 
England. The splendour in which he lived, and the stories 
of his immense wealth, were frequently noticed and com- 
mented on in the public prints, and attention was particularly 
drawn to a gold snuff-box, set with brilliants, which was 
one of the many marks of favour showered upon him by 
Catherine, Empress of Eussia, and which was generally 
valued at the enormous sum of between thirty and forty 
thousand pounds. This precious trinket excited Barrington's 
cupidity in an extraordinary degree, and he determined to 
exert himself, in order, by some means or other, to get it into 


his possession. A favourable opportunity occurred one 
night at Covent Garden Theatre, where he contrived to get 
near the prince, and dexterously conveyed the treasure from 
his Excellency's waistcoat pocket (in which, according to 
Russian custom, it was usually carried) into his own. The 
operation was not performed with sufficient delicacy to 
escape detection, for the prince felt the attack that was so 
impudently made upon his pocket; and, having reason to 
entertain some suspicion of Barrington, he immediately 
seized him by the collar. During the confusion that 
naturally ensued upon such an unusual scene, Barrington 
slipped the box into the hand of the prince, who, doubtless, 
was only too rejoiced to recover it with so much ease. The 
thief, however, was secured, and lodged in Tothill Fields 
Bridewell.^ In the morning he was taken before Sir John 
rielding, to whom he told such a pretty tale, that he was 
dismissed with an admonition to amend his course of life. 

. From this time he sank lower and lower ; in December 
1776 he was arrested for picking a woman's pocket, and 
sentenced to three years'hard labour in the hulks at Woolwich; 
from which, by his good conduct, he was set free after about 
twelve months' imprisonment. There is no space here to 
record his misdeeds until his first confinement in Newgate, 
which was but brief, for, on his trial, he was acquitted. But 
he only escaped Scylla to be engulfed in Charybdis, for 
one of the superintendents of convicts had him detained for 
violating the conditions under which he was liberated, and 
the consequence was that he was made what was called " a 
fine in Newgate," that is, he had to serve his unexpired 
term of imprisonment there. On his release, he continued 
his old courses, was outlawed, and finally arrested in 
Newcastle and sent to London, where, on his arrival, he was 
once more committed to Newgate. His trial took place in 
November 1789, and he was acquitted. The old story, and 
another arrest, this time followed by conviction and sentence, 
on 22nd September 1790, to seven years' transportation. 

He took his leave dramatically, and made a speech 
lamenting his hard fate throughout life. " The world, my 

' Pulled down 1885. 


Lord, has given me credit for abilities, indeed much greater 
than I possess, and, therefore, much more than I deserved ; 
but I have never found any kind hand to foster those 
abilities. I might ask, where was the generous and 
powerful hand that was ever stretched forth to rescue 
George Barrington from infamy ? In an age like this, 
which, in several respects, is so justly famed for liberal 
sentiments, it was my severe lot that no noble minded 
gentleman stepped forward, and said to me, ' Barrington, 
you are possessed of talents which may be useful to society. 
I feel for your situation, and as long as you act the part of 
a good citizen, I will be your protector ; you then will 
have time and opportunity to rescue yourself from the 
obloquy of your former conduct.' Alas, my Lord, George 
Barrington had never the supreme felicity of having such 
comfort administered to his wounded spirit. As matters 
have unfortunately turned out, the die is cast ; and, as it is, 
I bend, resigned to my fate, without one murmur or com- 
plaint." But his friends did not desert him, and, when they 
came to bid him good-bye, their generosity was so great, 
that he had great difficulty in getting permission to take all 
their gifts on board. 

His account of their embarkation gives us an extremely 
<^raphic description, not only of the treatment of convicts, 
but of the unhappy wretches themselves : " About a quarter 
before five, a general muster took place, and, having bid 
farewell to my fellow prisoners, we were escorted from the 
prison [Newgate] to Blackfriars Bridge by the City Guard, 
where two lighters were waiting to receive us. This pro- 
cession, though early, and but few spectators, made a deep 
impression on my mind, and the ignominy of being thus 
mingled with felons of all descriptions, many scarce a degree 
above the brute creation, intoxicated with liquor, and 
shocking the ears of those they passed with blasphemy, 
oaths, and songs, the most offensive to modesty, inflicted a 
punishment more severe than the sentence of my country, 
and fully avenged that society I had so much wronged." 
And there is little doubt but that the moral repugnance to 
his miserable and vicious companions was mainly this cause 
of the reformation which took place in him. 


The condition of convicts at that day was not enviable. 
There were two hundred and fifty of them in the ship with 
Barrington, all packed in the hold, their hammocks being 
slung within seventeen inches of each other ; being encum- 
bered with their irons, and deprived of fresh air, their 
condition was soon rendered deplorable. To alleviate their 
sufferings as much as possible, they were permitted to walk 
about the deck (as much as was consistent with the safety of 
the ship), ten at a time ; and the women-, of whom there were 
six on board, had a snug berth to themselves. But in spite 
of this humane and considerate treatment, thirty-six of them 
died on the voyage. 

But as Newgate and Barrington have parted company, 
the relation of his further history must be brief. Through 
influence he had many privileges on board, did not wear 
irons, nor herd with the convicts, but messed with the boat- 
swain and inferior ship's officers. A mutiny broke out 
among the convicts, which Barrington helped to quell, in 
return for which he was allowed every liberty, and per- 
mission to go on shore at the Cape, in order to purchase such 
articles as might sell to advantage in New South Wales. 
On arrival, the captain's report gained him the situation of 
superintendent of the convicts at Paramatta, receiving a full 
pardon from the Governor in 1799, and afterwards was 
made chief of the constabulary force of the colony, a post 
which he resigned shortly before his death in December 

We read in the Annual Register for 1792 that, on 15th 
October, " A riot took place in Newgate. The persons who 
were, some time ago, removed from the King's Bench 
(in consequence of having attempted to effect their escape) 
to Newgate, had some disagreements among themselves, 
which proceeded so far as to induce some among them to 
draw their knives, and several were very much wounded. 
Pitt, the door keeper on the debtor side, accompanied by 
two of his men, went in, in order to quell the tumult, when 
Pitt was so desperately cut over the head, as to render the 
immediate assistance of a surgeon necessary; his safety is 
not yet certain. His attendants were, also, very much cut." 

Times, January 30th, 1794: "A petition from Wm. 


Brunskill, (commonly called Jack Ketch) was presented to 
the Court of Aldermen, stating that he was the public 
executioner, and, on that account, could not get any other 
employment: that he was obliged to keep an assistant, 
though his allowance was so small, and his income so trifling, 
as to be insufficient to maintain himself and family, and 
praying relief. The Court referred the same to the Sheriffs." 

Base Coin finished in Newgate. 

" A very singular circumstance occurred a few days ago 
at the gaol of Newgate: one of the Magistrates of Police 
having received information that a person of the name of 
Pullen, a notorious offender, who was sentenced to a year's 
imprisonment for dealing in base money, had been carrying 
on his former trade, while in confinement: that the base 
money, of the similitude of a shilling, being previously pre- 
pared of blanched copper, with King William's head faintly 
impressed on one side, and plain on the other, was brought 
into the prison, privately, by Agents whom he employed : that, 
after the Cells were locked up, this adroit Coiner prepared 
a liquid in which very thin pieces of silver were mixed, 
which, being rubbed upon the copper shillings, instantly give 
them the appearance of worn down coin of the mint : that 
he was assisted in the operation by several of the prisoners 
in the same ward, some of them were his associates in 
iniquity, and convicted of offences against the Mint Laws : 
That his customers come regularly to the prison, and pur- 
chase the base money so finished at two for one, paying six- 
pence for each shilling, although intrinsically not worth a 
halfpenny; that the dies, and some other implements for 
coining belonging to these delinquents, had been actually 
lodged in their trunks at Newgate, and that they were 
brought there privately, on every alarm of danger from 
officers of justice, as a place of greater security. This in- 
formation having been communicated to Sir William Staines, 
one of the present Sheriffs of London and Middlesex, with 
the zeal for the public good which characterizes the active 
magistrate, he went alone to Newgate, early in the morning, 
before the cells were unlockedj and caused the trunks 
and boxes belonging to persons convicted of offences 


against the Mint Laws, to be searched; and in a trunk 
under Pulkn's bed, were found no less than £107, 2. 0. of 
base money, of the similitude of shillings, ready for circu- 
lation, and a machine for rounding, or milling, the edges 
of half crowns; and, in another trunk, belonging to an 
associate of Pullen, were found two plain dies, and two others 
for half pence and farthings. It would appear that some 
other dies for half crowns and shillings, which had been 
deposited for some time in a trunk belonging to Pullen, 
were removed, together with the book he kept for entering 
the names of the customers who visited him, for the purpose 
of purchasing base coin for the town and country circulation. 
. . . The Lord Mayor and Sheriffs have investigated the 
means by which these nefarious practices had been carried 
on ; and, we are happy to learn that it arose entirely from 
the arts, and devices, so familiar to criminals, without the 
knowledge, or privity of the Turnkeys. The result is, that 
the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs are taking immediate steps for 
establishing such rules, as will probably prevent a repetition 
of the same evil." — Times, 29th November 1796. 

We get a glimpse of Newgate about this time in a book 

published in 1815, in which the author says: "About 

twenty years ago, an application was made to me by a 

barrister, a friend of mine, to obtain an interview with a 

prisoner who was to be tried the next day, and would 

probably be convicted of a capital offence, of which he had 

good reason to think that he was innocent. The application 

was made to me, because, at that time, I was only a law 

student, and it was not consistent with professional etiquette 

for my friend, himself, to enter the prison. I immediately 

proceeded to Newgate. It was after dusk in the evening. 

The door keeper refused to admit me. I persisted, and 

obtained admission. I was left with the felons, who instantly 

surrounded, and importuned me for money. ' I come for a 

few moments' conversation,' I said, ' with your fellow prisoner, 

who will be tried to morrow, and whose life depends upon 

my knowing one fact, which he alone can communicate.' 

' Damn you, you scoundrel, you will be hanged yourself in a 

week,' was the answer which I received. Till that instant I 

was not aware of my situation. I was alone, amidst brutal 


ignorance and hardened vice. Desirous to insure some 
protection, I addressed one of the prisoners, who appeared 
less ferocious than his companions, and, in the mildest tone, 
I asked him ' Wliy he was confined ? ' Putting his hands 
upon his sides, with a malignant smile never to be forgotten, 
he replied, ' I am here for murder.' Some time elapsed 
before the gaoler liberated me." 

On 20th January 1802, Colonel Joseph Wall was tried 
at the Old Bailey charged with the wilful murder, while he 
was Governor of Goree, in 1782, of Benjamin Armstrong, a 
sergeant in the African corps, by ordering him to receive 
eight hundred lashes, which was the cause of his death. 
Wall wsts on the point of sailing for England, and, soon 
after his arrival, he was tried by court-martial on several 
charges of cruelty, which, however, were allowed to drop 
for a time. He then went to live at Bath, but in 1784 he 
was again arrested, managed to make his escape, and fled to 
the Continent, returning to England in 1797. In October 
1801 he wrote to the Home Secretary, offering to stand his 
trial, was arrested, tried as before said, found guilty, and 
sentenced to death. Great efforts were made to obtain a 
pardon for him, and the Privy Council had several delibera- 
tions on his case, but, after two respites, he was hanged at 
Newgate, on 28th January 1802. Never had there been 
such a mob to witness an execution since the hanging of 
Mrs. Brownrigg, and, as is reported in the Annual Register, 
" On his arrival at the scaffold, we lament to be obliged to 
record, that three successive shouts of exultation and 
triumph burst from an innumerable populace, and which 
evidently deprived the unhappy criminal of the small por- 
tion of fortitude which he had summoned up. After hang- 
ing a full hour, one quarter of which was convulsive agony, 
his body was cut down, put into a cart, and conveyed away 
to be dissected." This, however, was only formal, for his 
corpse was given to his friends, and quietly buried in St. 
Pancras Churchyard. 

On the afternoon of the 11th May 1812, as the Eight 
Hon. Spencer Perceval, the then Prime Minister, was enter- 
ing the lobby of the House of Commons, a man stepped out 
of the recess of the doorway, drew a small pistol, and shot 



him in the lower part of the left breast, which caused his 
death iu about ten or twelve minutes. The murderer -made 
no attempt to escape, and he was at once arrested. He 
proved to be a man named John BeUingham, who had been 
brought up in a counting-house in London, and afterwards 
lived three years as a clerk with a Eussian merchant at 
Archangel, at the expiration of which time he returned to 
England, went back to Eussia on mercantile business, was 
there twice imprisoned — he said falsely — and treated, 
according to his own account, with very great indignity. 

He complained to the British 
Ambassador at Petersburg, and 
also to the Secretary of Legation, 
but did not obtain his desired 
redress. He returned to Eng- 
land in 1809, as he said, ruined 
in health and fortune. But 
the British Ambassador, Lord 
Gower, declared that he used 
all the influence he possessed 
(with propriety) in Bellingham's 
favour ; but that he was legally 
imprisoned for debt, upon the 
award of four arbitrators, two of 
them British merchants chosen 
by himself, and the other two 
Eussians; that his confinement 
was far from severe; that he 
was. allowed to walk at large, 
only under the inspection of a 
police officer; and that he had received help in money 
from the Secretary of . Legation. But he was " a man 
with a grievance," which he determined should be well 
known, and he bombarded everybody with statements, 
etc. He wrote to poor Perceval for leave to Taring in a 
'petition, but was answered that Mr. Perceval thought 
that his petition "was not of a nature for the con- 
sideration of Parliament." And whether it was this reply 
that induced him to shoot the Premier no one knows ; he 
did it, was very soon tried, convicted, and sentenced to 


death, and was duly hanged at Newgate on 18th May. 
One would have thought that there could but have been 
but one feeling throughout the nation — that of horror at 
this dastardly murder, but one town was the base exception. 
When the news of the murder reached Nottingham, a 
numerous crowd publicly testified its joy, by shouts, huzzas, 
drums beating, flags flying, bells ringing, and bonfires 
blazing. The military being called out, and the Eiot Act 
read, peace was restored. 


Report of the Committee of 1814 on the State of Newgate— Dr. Forde's 
Evidence re Volunteer Missionaries — Letter from One. 

On 7th December 1813, Mr.. Eden called the attention of 
Parliament to the overcrowded state of Newgate, and a 
Committee was appointed to inquire into the state of the 
jails of the city of London, their report being ordered to 
be printed 9th May 1814. 

" Your Committee find the Gaol of Newgate, as at present 
regulated, is able conveniently to hold 110 Debtors and 
310 Criminal Prisoners ; and it is the opinion of the surgeon 
that, when the whole number exceeds 500, great danger of 
infectious disorder is to be apprehended. On April the 
5th, it contained 160 debtors and 326 criminals,* and in 
January last, the whole number amounted to 822. 

"That part of the prison which is appropriated to 
debtors, is divided into two wards, one for men, and one 
for women. Upon that for the men are three buildings, 
called The Master's Side, the Cabin Side, and the Common 
Side: the latter is for the poorest description of debtors; 
and, for admission into the two former, a fee of three 
shillings is paid ; and the prisoners in them share in none 
of the charities, but have the advantage of living in better 
society. The rooms are generally about 15 feet wide, and 
from 23 to 36 feet in length, and contain, each of them, 
day and night, from ten to fifteen men, when the prison is 
not crowded, but double that number have been occasionally 
placed in them. One room is, in the day time, appropriated 
to work; and, when your Committee visited the prison, 
they found there some persons industriously employed.^ 

1 This was done on 5th July 1806, when the Sheriffs inspected Newgate, 
and ordered that the long ward on the debtors' side should be appropriated 
to the use of those who might choose to work at their trades. 



For the government of the debtors, the keeper names six 
persons, and one of them is selected by his fellow prisoners 
to hold the office of Steward of the prison. It is the busi- 
ness of the Steward of the prison to preserve order, to see 
the allowances weighed, and, assisted by three auditors, 
freely chosen by the Prisoners, to examine the poor box; 
and to superintend the receipt and distribution of Charities ; 
in return for which, he receives small gratuities, and an 
additional allowance of provisions ; and, similar to his, in 
their subordinate departments, are the duties of the Stewards 
of the separate wards. These, and other regulations for the 
preservation of order, and management of the debtor's fund, 
have been approved of by the aldermen and judges. Mis- 
conduct, in any prisoner, is punished by removal to what 
is called The Disorderly Ward, which is locked up one hour 
soOner than the others; and if that punishment be not 
sufficient, by confinement in a cell. The doors are, every 
morning, opened at eight o'clock ; and, with the exception 
of four hours on Sunday, visitors are indiscriminately 
admitted from nine in the morning till nine at night, when 
they depart, sometimes to the number of two hundred. 

" Wine and beer are sold at the Bar of the prison, at the 
same price as in the public houses, and no one within the 
gaol is entitled to any profit on their sale. The quantity 
which each prisoner is allowed to purchase, is no otherwise 
limited than that he shall not have, at one time, more than 
one bottle of wine, or one quart of ale ; a regulation which 
little tends to preserve sobriety and order. The Act of 
ParKament against the introduction of spirituous hquors 
is conspicuously hung up, and all pains are taken, though 
sometimes ineffectually, to see that it is enforced. 

"No bedding is provided; the poorer description of 
prisoners sleep on the boards, between two rugs given by 
the City; those who can afford it, hire beds at sixpence 
the night, from persons who carry on this traffic with the 
prison. The allowance of food to debtors is fourteen ounces 
of bread a day, and eight stone of meat in every week, 
divided amongst all ; but as this quantity never varies with 
the number in aid of whose subsistence it is given, it forms a 
very precarious addition ; and the whole allowance is barely 


sufficient, without the assistance of their friends, to support 
life. The manner of distributing the bread, which is given 
on every alternate day, is liable to this objection, that the 
prisoner is tempted, on the first day, to eat the allowance 
which is meant also to support him on the second ; and that 
a person brought to prison immediately after the hour of 
distribution, receives nothing for forty eight hours, and may 
be six days without receiving any meat. To the debtors, no 
coals nor candles, no mops nor pails are given : The Master's 
Side prisoners provide themselves with these necessaries; 
and those on the Common Side are able to procure them by 
subscription and garnish, and by means of various charities 
and legacies. Your Committee feel it difficult to give an 
opinion upon what ought to be the allowance made to 
debtors for their coijafort and subsistence, and under what 
regulations it ought to be distributed. It is not fitting that 
the poorest should hardly be unable, by their allowance, to 
exist without the assistance of their friends; and, if that 
should be wanting, that they should be in part supported 
by broken meats from taverns, and other casual and un- 
certain charities : nor is it reasonable, by an ample and 
indiscriminate distribution of bedding, coals and provisions, 
to incur expense on the behalf of those who have ability to 
support themselves, and by too easy a subsistence, to leave 
no inducement to that industry, which it ought to be the 
first object in every prison to encourage. It seems, then, 
that a full allowance ought not to be general, it ought only 
to be given to those whose necessity cannot be doubted, and 
who are content to live on the Common Side of the prison : 
those who are on the Master's Side must be presumed to be 
more able to provide for themselves ; and, even, on each of 
these sides, different gradations may be made, the allowance 
diminishing as the accommodation and rooms improve. It 
might be made conditional, too, upon cleanliness, upon 
attendance at chapel, and other good conduct ; and if a 
system of work were established, it might be withheld from 
the idle. 

" Some deduction might also be made from such of the 
prisoners as are entitled to the daily payment of sixpence 
from their creditors; though, from the length of time for 


which that payment may be delayed, and the expense of 
obtaining it (which amounts to £1. 6. 0), it is received by 
few ; five only, of all the debtors now in Newgate, are in its 

" Garnish is demanded from all the prisoners on their 
admission to prison, and fees at their discharge ; the garnish 
is extorted by them from each other, and varies, in the 
different wards, from thirteen shillings to one guinea; an 
inability or unwillingness to pay it is punished by keeping 
the defaulter from the fire, by not allowing him to partake 
of the charities, and by other means of annoyance. It is a 
disgraceful and oppressive custom, and ought not to be 
permitted to exist. It has been abolished in all the well 
regulated prisons in the country ; and your Committee have 
it in evidence from the gaoler of Newgate, that a very small 
allowance as a compensation, and a positive order from the 
Magistrates, would cure this evil at once. 

" From every debtor, (those of the Court of Conscience 
excepted) a fee is due to the Sheriff for his "Writ of Liberate, 
amounting, in Middlesex, to 4s. 6d. for the first action, and 
2s. 6d. for every other : in London the demand is rather 
higher, and, beyond this, he may be further imprisoned 
until 6s. lOd. shall have been paid to the gaoler, and 2s. to 
the turnkey: and your Committee indeed regret that any 
right should exist, by law, or by custom, of exacting fees 
from prisoners under these, or indeed, any circumstances. 
But, when the debtor's debt is paid, or when he has aban- 
doned his property to his Creditor, and, destitute of every 
■ thing but his clothes and the instruments of his trade, looks 
forward to his liberty, it seems unreasonable that further 
demands should still be made on him, and that his liberation 
may yet be delayed until he shall have paid this new debt, 
arising only out of the satisfaction of all his former debts. 
That these fees have not always been extorted, nor made 
the subject of fresh imprisonment, is only to be attributed 
to charitable institutions, and to the humanity of the gaoler, 
whose right has never been enforced against the poor and 
unassisted. But your Committee feel, that the character of 
the present gaoler is no security for the conduct of his 
successors, and that this power of oppression ought not to 



exist. The female debtors Side is subject to similar regu- 
lations with that of the men, but it is less crowded, and 
appeared perfectly clean and well managed. 

" The Criminal Side of Newgate contains six yards : 1st. 
The Press Yard, for prisoners under sentence of death, to 
which are attached fifteen cells, each about nine feet long, 
by seven wide. By the rule of the prison, which is much 
relaxed, the prisoners are locked up in their cells from two 
in the afternoon, till nine in the morning. Two prisoners 
are generally, for the sake of society, and, in some cases, to 
prevent suicide, put into each cell ; though it has frequently 

lit ^.^i^ 

ilik^ ,!il 

O ill M 


ifllti fi% 

Inner Court of Newgate, 1809. 

happened, from delay in making the report, that the numbers 
have so accumulated as to make it necessary to confine three 
together. They have, with the exception of those condemned 
for murder, the same allowance with the other prisoners, 
and are permitted to purchase what wine, or beer they 
please. Their friends are allowed freely to visit them 
between the hours of twelve and two ; and every proper 
attention appears to be paid them. The Ordinary attends 
them every Tuesday and Thursday after sentence; and, 
after the order for execution, every day : such as are Dis- 


senters are permitted to see ministers of their own tenets ; 
and a Eoman Catholic clergyman is, very properly, paid by 
the City, for attending on such as are of his persuasion. On 
the Sunday before the execution, all the prisoners under 
sentence of death, and who are of the Church of England, 
are obliged to attend divine service ; they are placed in an 
open pew in the centre of the Chapel ; and, previous to an 
execution, a black Coffin is placed on the table before them.^ 
Your Committee feel this exposure of the condemned persons 
to be cruel and unnecessary ; and it is, consequently, stated 
to have this bad effect, that it induces many to profess 
Dissenting tenets, to avoid being thus held up to public 
view, in this last awful situation ; and, in general, only the 
most hardened consent so to appear. 

" In consequence of the Eeport, in 1811, of the Committee 
on Penitentiary Houses, some attempt has been made to 
separate the tried from the untried prisoners; and the 
yard, called the Chapel Yard, is appropriated to such as 
are charged with felony, and to such as have been con- 
victed, or are charged with misdemeanours. It is calculated 
to hold, in five wards, seventy prisoners, and contained, on 
April 4th, seventy-eight. Those in custody for misdemean- 
ours sleep in a different ward from those committed on 
suspicion of felony ; though, in the daytime, they mingle in 
the same yard. The rooms throughout the prison are fifteen 
feet wide, but vary in length. On one side of them the floor 
is a little raised in an inclined plane, on the top of which 
is a beam ; and, on these boards, the prisoners sleep, the 
beam serving as a piUow; no beds are given, but each 
prisoner has two rugs: and the allowance of room, when 
the prison has only such a number as can be conveniently 
lodged, is one foot and a half to each person; when, as 
has frequently been the case, nearly double the convenient 
number is placed in a ward, they sleep in the same crowded 
situation on each side of the room, the whole floor being 
covered, with the exception of a passage in the middle. In 
the classification of the different descriptions of prisoners, 
it has been usual (and such a system is sanctioned by 

1 This custom obtained until 1817, when it was abolished. 


the Legislature, in the Act 24 Geo. ill. c. 54) to confine 
together, all persons convicted of misdemeanours. In the 
opinion of your Committee, this classification is far from 
just. He who has committed a common assault, ought not 
to be made the companion of the perjured, or the fraudulent ; 
and, still less, of those who are committed for attempts at 
the most abominable crimes. And, in the same class with 
all these, the libeller ^ is also included, who is frequently a 
man of feeling and education, and whose crime, however 
dangerous and reprehensible, seldom carries with it into 
society that degree of disgrace which should subject the 
offender to be placed on a level with the more profligate 
criminals above alluded to. In the opinion of your Com- 
mittee, this gaol, whilst the classification of crimes is so 
little observed, is not fit for the confinement of persons 
convicted of libel. Prisoners for misdemeanours are not in 
irons, but all the others are, except such as have deserved 
to be freed from them by long good behaviour ; they are 
considered to be necessary as a mark to distinguish the 
prisoners from strangers. But, if this intercourse with 
visitors were more limited, or permitted only through a 
grating, the irons might, with perfect safety, be discontinued. 
In the middle yard are confined persons uijder sentence of 
transportation, and convicted of felony ; their number, in 
April, was eighty-two ; and it will conveniently hold eighty. 
It is to the great delay, which frequently occurs, in the 
removal of persons under such sentences, that the crowded 
state of Newgate has frequently been owing. By a return 
to your Committee, it appears that their numbers are very 
seldom less than 100 ; and at one time, in December last, 
they amounted to 236. This delay is one of the main causes 
of all the inconveniences felt in the prison ; and very great 
good would at once result from the early and regular removal 
of the transports. 

" The Master's Side will contain seventy persons, but is 
seldom full; it has, now, forty-nine. Prisoners for every 
crime, and of every description, liable only to removal for 

^ This probably refers to William Cobbett, who, on 9th July 1810, was 
convicted of libel, and sentenced to be imprisoned in Newgate for two years, 
and to pay a fine of £1000, etc. 


misconduct, may be admitted to it, on the payment of 
13s. 6d. and 2s. 6d. per week for the use of a bed. Their 
treatment differs little from that of the other prisoners, 
except that they partake of no charities, and are in better 
society. They are, as much as possible, in their rooms, 
placed in different classes, but all meet in the common yard. 
Similar regulations prevail in what is called the State Side, 
which is for a still better description of prisoners, and the 
fee for admission to which is two guineas, and a rent of 
10s. 6d. for a single bed, and 7s. when two sleep in one 
bed. It has accommodation for forty, and contains, now, 
twenty prisoners. The women's yards, with cells and 
infirmary, are calculated for seventy persons : seventy -five, 
with fifteen children, were, on April 4th, confined in it; 
and, in January last, one hundred and thirty were crowded 
together, of all ages, of all descriptions, tried and untried ; 
and even those under sentence of death are not removed, 
till the order for their execution comes down. Amongst 
them are, now, two girls of thirteen, one of twelve, and one 
of ten years old, exposed to all the contagion of profligacy, 
which must prevail in this part of the prison. A division 
is here, also, made for Master's Side prisoners, for admission 
to which a fee of 13s. 6d. is paid ; but they and the others 
have but one common yard, which is extremely narrow and 
inconvenient. Amongst the women, no visitors, except in 
the instance of very near relations, are admitted ; intercourse 
between them and their friends takes place through an iron 
railing. Into every other part of the prison, visitors are 
allowed to come at any hour, from nine o'clock till dusk, 
but may only depart at stated times. Coals, and mops and 
brooms, are, nearly to a sufficient quantity, supplied to the 
Criminal Side of Newgate ; and the allowance of food is, in 
a small degree, better than that to the debtors ; but it is not 
sufficient properly to support life, without the assistance 
, of friends, and casual charity ; and, in the opinion of your 
Committee, it ought to be increased. It is hard to leave in 
dependence on their friends, men, many of whom are com- 
mitted to prison only on suspicion of crimes; taken, too, 
from their trades, and placed in a prison in which hardly 
any facilities for work are afforded; while their families 


are deprived of that assistance on which they have been 
accustomed to depend. A very small increase of allowance 
would perfectly support them, and at the same time render 
unnecessary the unlimited concourse of visitors, by which it 
is to be feared the order and regularity becoming a prison 
are much impaired. From all the Criminals, with the ex- 
ception only of those on the State Side, garnish is extracted 
liable to the same objections as have been already stated 
against it ; and from them, too, fees are due, on particular 
occasions, to the keeper. Every convicted felon, on hia 
discharge, after a term of imprisonment, pays 18s. lOd. 
though about again to try the world, under all the dis- 
advantages of ruined character and circumstances, and the 
bad habits, and sometimes bad health, contracted during 
a long residence in a prison. Other fees are exacted on 
pardons, and from persons convicted of misdemeanours; every 
one of which your Committee are of opinion ought to be 
abolished ; and they are glad to find, that a Eesolution to 
that effect passed the Common Council in 1810, though it 
is not yet acted upon. Acquitted prisoners are, as by law 
entitled, discharged on the moment of their acquittal; 
frequently at a late hour, and sometimes, without money, 
without friends, and without a habitation in London ; and 
instances have, in consequence, been known of their being 
brought back again, on the same day, on a fresh charge, to 
Newgate. Those against whom No Bill is found, are dis- 
charged in the morning ; and the females have received one 
shilling each from a private charity. From the want of 
room, and the danger of permitting the use of some tools, 
and the difficulty of procuring work, the prisoners are but 
little employed; but it is the opinion of the keeper, that 
the best results would be derived from fitting up a yard for 
the purpose of work, and giving other encouragements. The 
increased allowance suggested by your Committee, should, 
if such a system were well regulated, be given only to the 
industrious, and the earnings be sufficient to accumulate, 
either for the families of the prisoners during their confine- 
ment, or, for their assistance upon leaving the prison. 

" Four lunatics are now confined in Newgate ; two of 
them separately, but two with the other prisoners; one 


of whom would, but for his insanity, have been convicted 
of murder. This is a practice against which a Eesolution 
of the Common Council was passed four years ago, but 
which still, unfortunately, continues to exist; but it is 
hoped, when the new Bedlam is finished, they will all 
be removed. 

" The keeper of Newgate receives a salary of £450, in 
addition to which, all the fees and rents are paid to him, and, 
from this fund, he pays the servants of the prison ; above 
which expense, an income remains to himself of from £600 
to £1000 a year, which is not, in the opinion of your 
Committee, too great for an office of such difficulties and 
responsibility; but they greatly object to the manner in 
which that salary is paid. No part of a gaoler's income 
ought to be exacted from his prisoners. Such an income, 
frequently ill paid, to a humane gaoler, leaves him, also, too 
much open to the imputation of harshness, whilst it gives to 
a harsh gaoler, a power of oppression ; it also leads to the 
employment of too small a number, and an inferior descrip- 
tion of servants. The fees ought all to be abolished ; and 
whatever rents it may be thought proper to reserve, to be 
accounted for, the gaoler receiving a fixed salary. Your 
Committee cannot leave this part of the subject without 
stating that they believe Mr. Newman to be conscientiously 
attentive to the duties of his office, and humane in their 
performance. The medical department is under Mr. Box, 
who receives a salary of £150, in addition to which he is 
repaid by the City for any quantity of medicines he may 
use. There are three Infirmaries ; one for the male debtors ; 
one for the male, and one for the female criminals. No 
apartment has been set aside for sick female debtors, and 
one has very rarely been wanted. A man on each Side is 
chosen by the Surgeon from the best educated of the 
prisoners, and employed, daily, to go round the prison, and 
to examine and report all the sick, who are immediately 
removed to the Infirmary, and liberally furnished with 
attendance, and everything which can be necessary. Mr. 
Box states that, since his appointment, in 1802, no fatal 
case of infectious disease has occurred. Pulmonary com- 
plaints are the most difficult of cure in this and every other 


gaol; but Mr. Box has not observed any disorder to be 
unusually prevalent. The average yearly number of deaths, 
since 1802, has been only nine ; and your Committee have 
every reason to be satisfied with the liberality of the City, 
and the attention of Mr. Box to this department. They 
have only one remark to make ; namely, that it would be 
satisfactory if every prisoner committed to Newgate, before 
he is allowed to mingle with the other prisoners, were to 
undergo a medical examination. It is a precaution observed 
in all well-governed prisons, and seems particularly called 
for in one so apparently exposed to infection as Newgate. 

" The Ordinary, Dr. Forde, receives a salary of £250, and 
is provided with a house. He states that the attendance at 
Chapel, which is entirely voluntary, is far from regular, and 
his congregation frequently inattentive and disorderly. 
The different classes of prisoners are all within view of 
each other; and, before the service begins, conversations 
take place between the men and women, and every sort of 
noise prevails. The Keeper, himself, never attends, when 
on every ground of giving a good example, and preserving 
due decorum by his authority, he ought, if possible, never 
to be absent ; and but three or four of the turnkeys are 
present, and attempt, very insufficiently, to preserve order. 
No Clerk is appointed to lead the prisoners in their 
responses, and much inconvenience is felt by such a con- 
gregation from the want of this guidance. The Sacrament 
is never administered, except to the condemned. Beyond 
his attendance in Chapel, and on those who are sentenced 
to death, Dr. Forde feels but few duties to be attached to 
his office. He knows nothing of the state of morals in the 
prison; he never sees any of the prisoners in private; 
though fourteen boys and girls, from nine to thirteen years 
old, were in April last in Newgate, he does not consider 
any attention to them a point of his duty ; he never knows 
that any have been sick, till he gets a warning to attend 
their funeral ; and does not go to the Infirmary, for it is not 
in his instructions. 

" Most of the evils and inconveniences of Newgate have 
proceeded from its being, in extent, wholly inadequate to 
the purposes for which it was intended ; and the attention 



of the Common Council being called to it in 1810, by a 
letter to them from Sir Eicharcl Phillips, a Committee to 
enquire wa.s appointed, which produced a valuable Eeport, 
and several beneficial Eesolutions; and, among them, one 
for the building of a new prison for the reception of debtors. 
This building is to receive the debtors also of Giltspur Street, 
the Poultry and Ludgate Compters, and is in a state of 
much forwardness ; hopes are entertained that it will be fit 
for the reception of prisoners in the course of a year. 
Newgate will then only contain such persons as have 
received the sentence of the law, and the commitments 
from the different Compters and the County prison, 
previously to every Sessions held at the Old Bailey. This 
will give room for that attention to the comfort, morals 
and industry of the prisoners; which, in the present 
crowded state of the prison, is liardly practicable; for 
their comfort, with increased space, an increased allowance 
and bedding are absolutely necessary ; and their moral 
conduct will best be improved by a minute classification 
of ages, sexes, and offences, and by affording every facility 
of employment ; perhaps this last object might be forwarded 
by giving a room towards the street, where articles manu- 
factured by the prisoners might be offered for sale. Many 
of the Magistrates of the City appear, to your Committee, 
to be active, and frequent in their visits to this and the 
other gaols, and Eeports from them appear to find a ready 
attention from the Committee of City Lands; but a still 
more attentive and vigilant system of inspection, by regular 
meetings held at the prison, would, in the opinion of your 
Committee, be highly beneficial. It would be useful to 
have books kept, in which the surgeon and gaoler might 
enter the occurrences in their several departments; and 
one in which the Visiting Magistrates might write their 
remarks, as a guide for their conduct, and that of their 
successors. The opinion of Mr. Howard is strongly in 
favour of the appointment also of one of the superintending 
Magistrates to act solely as an Inspector ; and, where tlie 
gaols are so numerous and extensive as in London, this 
opinion seems well worthy of consideration. Your Com- 
mittee cannot better state his duties, than in the words of 


Mr. Howard \- — ' The Inspector should make his visits once 
in a week, or at most, in a fortnight, changing his days. 
He should take with him a memorandum of all the rules, 
and enquire into the observance, or neglect of them. He 
should, (as is done in some of our Hospitals) look into every 
room, to see if it be clean, &c. He should speak with every 
prisoner, hear all complaints, and immediately correct what 
he finds manifestly wrong ; what he doubts of, he may refer 
to his brethren in office, at their next meeting. A good 
gaoler will be pleased with this scrutiny, it will do him 
honour, and confirm him in his station. To a less worthy 
gaoler, the examination is more needful, in order to his 
being reprimanded, and, if he be incorrigible, to his being 
discharged.' " 

A portion of Dr. Forde's evidence is well worth quoting, 
as it shows a sidelight on the spiritual condition of Newgate 
at that time. He said : — " The first question I put to these 
people after they are convicted, is generally, indeed always, 
the day after they are sent in, as convicted from the fore- 
going Sessions : ' What religion are you of ? ' The majority 
of them say, ' Of the Church of England.' ' Very well : 
Have you been in the habit of frequenting any clergyman 
in the former part of your life, who resides in, or near 
London ? ' ' JSTo, Sir.' ' Because, if you have, and do not 
choose to be attended by me, I will get some one you have 
some acquaintance with.' That is generally refused; they 
say ' We are very well satisfied.' I say, ' Are there any 
Dissenters ? ' One says ' I am a Catholic ; and I am a 
Catholic' ' Very well ; I will let Mr. Devereux know, and 
he shall attend you.' But it is very seldom I meet with any 
Dissenters ; I can take upon myself to say, I never met with 
many Dissenters; at least they keep it to themselves, if 
they are. 

" Are Dissenting ministers admitted to the prisoners, on 
any other ground than the prisoner's own request ? — Yes ; 
sometimes we are haunted by ministers, who come, I dare 
say, with very good intentions, but they are a very great 
grievance to the prisoners who are not so inclined; they 
are always for preaching and talking, and so forth ; I have 
applied to the G-aol Committee to make some restriction. 


It should not be expected of those people, with their habits, 
that they should be always crammed with preaching and 
prayers ; they do not like it. I have known some of these 
men come to those who are in better circumstances than the 
rest, and eat up their mutton chop, and drink their beer, 
and then go to prayers, and then go away ; and they would 
not come when that was not the case. I have known a 
prisoner very much harassed by a man, the owner of a 
lighter in the river Thames, who comes in, raggedly dressed, 
to expound the Scriptures. 

" Do you conceive they are ever admitted except on the 
prisoner's own request ? — dear, yes. 

" They come to the condemned prisoners ? — Yes, they 
never think of any others but them. 

" Do you conceive they preach to the prisoners when the 
prisoners wish them absent ? — The prisoners are in a very 
awkward predicament ; for they think that their request 
will go for nothing, and that it is better to submit to it ; 
and some brought them some money in the last instance ; 
and they submit to it in the hope that one will bring a loaf 
under his coat, or another, bread and cheese, or another, 
some money; but if they were to come in on religious 
matters only, I believe they would shut the doors against 
them ; at least, so they say to me. 

" Are those persons Methodist Preachers ? — Yes ; 
Methodist Preachers, and clergymen who affect to be 
Methodistical preachers." 

To show the educational fitness of some of these self- 
appointed missionaries, the following letter may be profitably 
read : — 

" My deae fallow sinnee, 

" I hope you have been calling on the Lord 
this monnig, that it may please him to give you a faiths 
view of Jesus Christ, in all his mercy and love. I have 
been to a throne of grace this moning, beging of God to 
give you a true sight of sin, and that you may look on him 
who died for sinners. I hope for you and me. I hop you 
have read that track I laft yesterday. One thing I have to 
till was, I could not see the poor woman, as Mrs. C. was not 


thare. I could have wished to have seen her, and talked of 
the love of God for sinners, of whom I am chife. Please to 
send by Mr. C. or some other person, one of those tracks. 
Please to send No 79 and one of ISTo 10, and give one to 
your compaion, and give all the others a way. I hope the 
Lord will bless you. Do not far git your promise to me, 
and let me know the state of your mind ; and if you should 
wish to see me I will come at any time, all night with you, 
and if not, I rem yours in Jesus Christ." 


Mrs. Pry— Her First Visit to Newgate— Founds a School— Gets a Room 
allotted her— Committee Formed — Work Found for the Prisoners — 
Improvements in the Prison — Eliza Penning — Her Funeral— Serious 
Riot in Newgate — Prisoners escape. 

It was about this time that Mrs. Elizabeth Fry, the eldest 
child of John Gurney, a banker of Norwich, began to take 
an interest in the female prisoners of Newgate. She was 
then about twenty-four years of age, good looking, of higli 
position, rich, and practically benevolent ; a bright contrast 
to Dr. Forde's friends. The simple story of her exertions 
and success in this prison is shortly but well told by T. F. 
Buxton, Esq., himself an eminent member of the Society of 

" About four years ago (1813) Mrs. Fry was induced to 
visit Newgate, by the representation of its state, made by 
some persons of the Society of Friends. 

" She found the female side in a situation which no 
language can describe. Nearly three hundred women, sent 
there for every gradation of crime, some untried, and some 
under sentence of death, were crowded together in the two 
wards and two cells, which are now appropriated to the 
untried, and which are found quite inadequate to contain 
even this diminished number, with any tolerable convenience. 
Here they saw their friends, and kept their multitudes of 
children, and they had no other place for cooking, washing, 
eating and sleeping. They slept on the floor, at times, one 
hundred and twenty in one ward, without so much as a mat 
for bedding, and many of them were very nearly naked. She 
saw them openly drinking spirits, and her ears were offended 
by the most terrible imprecations. Everything was filthy 
to excess, and the smell was quite disgusting. Every one, 
even the Governor, was reluctant to go amongst them. He 




persuaded her to leave her watch in the office, telling her 
that his presence would not prevent its being torn from her. 
She saw enough to convince her that everything bad was 
going on. In short, in giving me this account, she repeatedly 


' In prison, and ye came unto Me." 

said — ' All I tell thee is a faint picture of the reality ; the 
filth, the closeness of the rooms, the ferocious manners and 
expressions of the women towards each other, and the 
abandoned wickedness, which everything bespoke, are 


quite indescribable.' One act, wbich I received from 
another quarter, marks the degree of wretchedness to which 
they were reduced at that time. Two women were seen in 
the act of stripping a dead child, for the purpose of clothing 
a living one. At that time she clothed many of the 
children, and some of the women, and read to them some 
passages in the Bible ; and the willing and grateful manner 
with which, even then, they attended to her admonitions, 
left upon her mind a strong desire to do more for their 
advantage, and a conviction that much might be done. 
Circumstances, however, rendered any efforts, on her part, 
impossible, for the long period of three years. 

" About Christmas, 1816, she resumed her visits, and she 
found that many, and very essential, improvements had been 
made by the Jail Committee ; especially, the females were 
less crowded, as they occupied, in addition to their former 
rooms, the State apartments, consisting of six wards and 
three cells, and the yard attached to them ; they were pro- 
vided with mats, and two gratings were erected to prevent 
close communication between prisoners and their visitors ; 
with all these improvements, however, the prison was a 
dreadful scene. She found, she believes, all the women 
playing cards, or reading improper books, or begging at the 
gratings, or fighting for the division of the money thus 
acquired, or engaged in the mysteries of fortune telling ; for, 
then, there was amongst them, one who could look into 
futurity^ and the rest, who believed nothing else, were eager 
and implicit believers in the truth of her divinations. 

" Want of employment was the subject of their continual 
lamentation. They complained that they were compelled to 
be idle, and that having nothing else to do, they were obliged to 
pass away the time in doing wrong. I cannot better describe 
their state, than in the words of Mrs. Fry : — ' I soon found 
that nothing could be done, or was worth attempting for the 
reformation of the women, without constant employment ; 
as it was, those who were idle were confirmed in idleness, 
and those who were disposed to be industrious, lost their 
good habits. In short, they went there to have the work of 
corruption completed, and subsequent examination has dis- 
covered to me the cases of many, who, before this period. 



had come to N'ewgate almost innocent, and who left it 
depraved and profligate in the last degree.' As she had then 
no hopes of any provision of labour, her design was confined 
to about thirty children, whose miserable condition much 
affected her. They were almost naked, and seemed pining 
away for want of food, air, and exercise ; but their personal 
sufferings was the least part of their wretchedness ; what 
but certain ruin must be the consequence of education in 
this scene of depravity ? At her second visit, she requested 
to be admitted alone, and was locked up with the women 
without any turnkey, for several hours ; when she mentioned 

to those who had families, how grievous and deplorable she 
considered the situation of their offspring, and her desire to 
concur with them in establishing a school, the proposal was 
received, even by the most abandoned, with tears of joy. 
They said they knew too well the misery of sin, to wish to 
have their children brought up in it ; that they were ready 
to do anything which she might direct, for it was horrible, 
even to them, to hear their infants utter oaths and filthy 
expressions, amongst the first words they learned to articu- 
late. She desired them to maturely consider the plan, for 
that she would not undertake it without their full and steady 
co-operation ; but, if they were determined to persevere in 


doing their part, she would do hers, and that the tirst step 
would be to appoint a governess. This she left entirely to 
them, and they were to consider who was the most proper 
person for that appointment. 

"Consideration only served to confirm their desire for 
the instruction of their children. At her next visit they 
had selected a young woman as school mistress, and her 
conduct does credit to their discernment, for she has behaved 
throughout with signal propriety, and in no instance has 
she been known to transgress any rule. The elder women 
repeated their promises of entire obedience, if the trial might 
but be made ; and several of the younger prisoners came to 
her, and entreated to be admitted to the intended school, 
saying, how thankful they should be for any chance of 

" Having, thus obtained the consent of the females, her 
next object was to secure the concurrence of the Governor. 
She went to his house, and there met both the Sheriffs and 
the Ordinary. She told them her views, which they received 
with the most cordial approbation ; but, at the same time, 
unreservedly confessed that her labours would be fruitless. 
At the next interview they stated, that they had thoroughly 
examined the prison, and were truly sorry to say they 
could not find any vacant spot suitable for her purpose, and 
therefore feared the design must be relinquished. Conclusive 
as this intelligence appeared, her heart was then too deeply 
engaged in the work, and her judgment too entirely con- 
vinced of its importance, to allow her to resign it while one 
possibility of success remained. She again requested to be 
admitted alone among the women, that she might see for 
herself, and if her search then failed, she should be content 
to abandon her project. She soon discovered a cell which 
was unused,! a,nd this cell is the present schoolroom. Upon 
this she rfeturned to the Sheriffs, who told her she might 
take it if she liked, and try the benevolent but almost 
hopeless experiment. 

1 Still called, at the time of the prison's demolition, "Mrs. Fry's room." 
When this Ulustration was taken in June 1902, it was empty save for a 
number of old books, some of which may be seen to the left of the 



" The next day she commenced the school, in company 
with a young lady, who then visited a prison for the first 
time, and who, since, gave me a very interesting description 
of her feelings on that occasion. The railing was crowded 
with half naked women, struggling together for the front 
situations with the most boisterous violence, and begging 
with the utmost vociferation. She felt as if she was going 
into a den of wild beasts, and she well recollects quite 
shuddering when the door closed upon her, and she was 
locked in, with such a herd of novel and desperate com- 
panions. This day, however, the school surpassed their 

Mrs. Fry's Room. 

utmost expectations; their only pain arose from the numerous 
and pressing applications made by young women, who longed 
to be taught and employed. The narrowness of the room 
rendered it impossible to yield to these requests, whilst a 
denial seemed a sentence of destruction, excluding every 
hope, and almost every possibility of reformation. 

"These ladies, with some others, continued labouring 
together for some time, and the school became their regular 
and daily occupation ; but their visits brought them so 
acquainted with the dissipation and gross licentiousness 
prevalent in the prison, arising, as they conceived, partly 


from want of certain regulations, but, principally, from want 
of work, that they could not but feel earnest and increasing 
solicitude to extend their institution, and to comprehend 
within its range the tried prisoners. This desire was con- 
firmed by the solicitations of the women themselves, who 
entreated that they might not be excluded. Their zeal for 
improvement, and their assurances of good behaviour, were 
powerful motives, and they tempted these ladies to project a 
school for the employment of the tried women, for teaching 
them to read, and to work." 

All their friends endeavoured to dissuade them, but 
" they had the boldness to declare that, if a Committee 
could be found who would share the labour, and a matron 
who would engage never to leave the prison night nor day, 
they would undertake to try the experiment ; that is, they 
would find employment for the women, procure the necessary 
money, till the City could be induced to relieve them from 
the expense, and be answerable for the safety of the property 
committed into the hands of the prisoners. The Committee 
immediately presented itself ; it consisted of the wife of a 
clergyman, and eleven members of the Society of Friends. 
They expressed their willingness to suspend every other 
engagement and avocation, to devote themselves to New- 
gate; and, in truth, they performed their promise. With 
no interval of relaxation, and with but few intermissions 
from the call of other and more imperious duties, they lived 
amongst the prisoners. At first, every day in the week, and 
every hour in the day, some of them were to be found at 
their post, joining in the employments, or engaged in the 
instruction of their pupils ; and, at this very time, when the 
necessity of such close attendance is much abated, the 
matron assures me that, with only one short exception, she 
does not recollect the day on which some of the ladies have 
not visited the prison ; that, very often, they have been with 
her by the time the prisoners were dressed ; have spent the 
whole day with them, sharing her meals, or passing on 
without any ; and have only left the school long after the 
close of day. . . . 

" Mrs. iPry had an interview with Mr. Bridges, one of the 
Sheriffs ; and having communicated to him her intentions. 


told him they could not be carried into execution without 
the cordial support of himself and his colleague, or without 
the approbation of the City Magistrates; from whom she 
asked nothing more, at this time, than a salary for the 
matron, a comfortable room for her, and one for the Com- 
mittee. He expressed the most kind disposition to assist 
her, but told her that his concurrence, or that of the City, 
would avail her but little — the concurrence of the women 
themselves was indispensable ; and that it was in vain to 
expect that such untamed and turbulent spirits would 
submit to the regulations of a woman, armed with no legal 
authority, and unable to inflict any punishment. She 
rephed — -'Let the experiment be tried; let the women 
be assembled in your presence; and, if they will not 
consent to the strict observance of our rules, let the 
project be dropped.' On the following Sunday, the 
two Sheriffs, with Mr. Cotton and Mr. Newman [the 
Ordinary and Governor] met the ladies at Newgate. Up- 
wards of seventy women were collected together. One of 
the Committee explained their views to them : she told them 
that the only practicable mode of accomplishing an object, 
so interesting to her, and so important to them, was by the 
establishment of certain rules. They were then asked, if 
they were willing to abide by the rules which it might be 
advisable to establish, and each gave the most positive 
assurances of her determination to obey them in all points. 

"Having succeeded so far, the next business was to 
provide employment. It struck one of the ladies, that 
Botany Bay might be supplied with stockings, and, indeed, 
all articles of clothing, of their manufacture. She, therefore, 
called on Messrs. Dixon & Co., Fenchurch St., and candidly 
told thfem that she was desirous of depriving them of this 
branch of their trade ; and, stating her views, begged their 
advice. They said, at once, that they would not in any way 
obstruct such laudable designs, and that no further trouble 
need be taken to provide work, for they would engage to do 
it. Nothing now remained but to prepare the room, and 
this difficulty was obviated, by the Sheriffs sending their 
carpenters. The former laundry speedily underwent the 
necessary alterations, was cleaned and white washed, and in 


a very few days the ladies' Cominittee assembled in it all the 
tried female prisoners." Eules were formulated and adopted, 
and what is more, were kept by the prisoners. 

" During the first month the ladies were anxious that 
the attempt should be secret, that it might meet with no 
interruption ; at the end of that time, as the experiment had 
been tried, and had exceeded even their expectations, it was 
deemed expedient to apply to the Corporation of London. 
It was considered that the school would be more permanent, 
if it were made a part of the prison system of the City, than 
if it merely depended on individuals. In consequence, a 
short letter descriptive of the progress already made, wns 
written to the Sheriffs. The next day an answer was 
received, proposing a meeting with the ladies at Newgate. 
In compliance with this appointment, the Lord Mayor, the 
the Sheriffs, and several of the Aldermen attended. The 
prisoners were assembled together ; and, it being requested 
that no alteration in their usual practice might take place, 
one of the ladies read a chapter in the Bible, and then 
the females proceeded to their various avocations. Their 
attention during the time of reading; their orderly and 
sober deportment, their decent dress, the absence of every- 
thing like tumult, noise, or contention, the obedience, and 
the respect shewn by them, and the cheerfulness visible in 
their countenances and manners, conspired to excite the 
astonishment and admiration of their visitors. Many of 
these knew Newgate, had visited if a few months before, 
and had not forgotten the painful impressions made by a 
scene, exhibiting, perhaps, the very utmost limits of misery 
and guilt. They now saw, what, without exaggeration, may 
be called a transformation. Eiot, licentiousness, and filth, 
exchanged for order, sobriety, and comparative neatness in 
the chamber, the apparel and the persons of the prisoners. 
They saw no more an assemblage of abandoned and shame- 
less creatures, half naked and half drunk, rather demanding 
than requesting Charity. The prison no more resounded 
with obscenity and imprecations, and licentious songs ; and to 
use the coarse, but the just, expression of one who knew the 
prison well, ' this hell upon earth ' exhibited the appearance 
of an industrious manufactory, or a well regulated family. 


" The Magistrates, to evince their sense of the import- 
ance of the alterations which had been effected, immediately- 
adopted the whole plan as a part of a system of Newgate, 
empowered the ladies to punish the refractory by short 
confinement, undertook part of the expense of the matron, 
and loaded the ladies with thanks and benedictions. 

" The effect wrought by the advice and admonitions of 
the ladies, may, perhaps, be evinced more forcibly by a 
single and a slight occurrence, than by any description. It 
was a practice of immemorial usage, for convicts, on the 
night of their departure for Botany Bay, to pull down and 
break everything breakable within their part of the prison, 
and to go off shouting, with the most hardened effrontery. 
When the period approached for a late clearance, every one 
connected with the prison dreaded this night of disturbance 
and devastation : To the surprise of the oldest turnkey, no 
noise was heard, not a window was intentionally broken. 
They took an affectionate leave of their companions, and 
expressed the utmost gratitude to their benefactors ; the 
next day they entered their conveyances without any 
tumult; and their departure, in the tears that were shed, 
and the mournful decorum that was observed, resembled a 
funeral procession ; and so orderly was their behaviour, that 
it was deemed unnecessary to send more than half the 
usual escort." 

Such was the work Mrs. Fry did in Newgate ; with her 
other good deeds, which were many, we have no concern 
here. She died in 1845, aged 65, and her portrait, by 
Eichmond, shows her kindly face to perfection. 

On 26th July 1815 was hanged at Newgate a young 
woman named Ehza Fenning, whose execution would not 
be chronicled here were it not for the fact that her guilt, or 
innocence, is a moot-point to this day. She was accused 
of poisoning the family with whom she lived by means of 
arsenic, but it was proved that she partook of the food, and 
was very sick afterwards. She was tried at the Old Bailey, 
on 15th April, and the time which elapsed between her 
sentence and execution was spent in earnestly considering 
and reconsidering her case. She died vehemently protest- 
ing her innocence. Her body was given to her friends, and 






^m \1 



^^^v ^'m^ 

^ r^^^ 


^^^^^^^^V M^^lh 

mL\ J 


^^^^m m H 

^H^ s 


^K. '4 Jm 






~89Hi^' .^^^^^^^^1 




her fuueral took place on 31st July. The following is a 
contemporary account of it : — " lb had been understood that 
she was not to be interred until five o'clock, but her parents 
and friends, very prudently, changed the hour, by which 
means much confusion was obviated. However, the crowds 
assembled were immense. The funeral began to move from 
her father's house, in Eagle Street, Eed Lion Square, about 
half -past three o'clock. It was preceded by about a dozen 
peace officers, and these were followed by nearly 30 more ; 
next came the undertaker, immediately followed by the 
body of the deceased. The pall was supported by six young 
females, attired in white : then followed eight persons, male 
and female, as chief mourners, led by the parents. These 
were succeeded by several hundreds of persons, two and 
two, and the whole was closed by a posse of police officers. 
Many thousands accompanied the procession, and the win- 
dows, and even tops of houses, as it passed, were thronged 
with spectators. The whole proceeded in a regular manner, 
until it reached the burying ground of St. George the 
Martyr.^ The number of persons assembled in and about 
the church yard could not have been much short of 10,000. 
Not the slightest accident occurred, and the procession of 
mourners &c., returned in the same order as it went, by the 
Foundling, Lamb's Conduit Street &c. The vigilance of 
the officers, in preserving order, was highly meritorious; 
but they were unable to resist the anxiety of the multitude 
at yie church yard, the gates being actually forced. A 
young man in the crowd, who had spoken somewhat dis- 
respectfully of the deceased, was rather roughly handled by 
the populace." 

On the afternoon of the 25th August 1816 a serious riot 
broke out among the convicts in Newgate, which originated 
in the following manner : — A person who was visiting the 
prison had his pocket picked of his watch ; upon which an 
order was issued by the keeper to search the convicts, as 
well as those of their friends who were with them, and that 
no other visitors should be admitted until the watch had 
been found. The convicts in that part of the prison, who 

1 Near Judd Street, 


were 140 in number, chose to consider this order as an 
encroachment on their privileges ; and, emboldened by their 
numbers, not only resisted all search, but proceeded to acts 
of violence and outrage. They took possession of the 
common yard, where they were allowed to exercise and see 
their friends, as well as of the four wards wherein they 
were confined, and expelled by force the officers and turn- 
keys from that portion of the building. Here they 
endeavoured to maintain themselves, and considerable alarm 
for some time prevailed, lest they should force the passages 
of the prison and make their escape ; but Mr. Newman, the 
keeper, having assembled all his officers, fired several shots 
over their heads and into different parts of the yard, rather 
with a view to create alarm among them than to inflict any 
real injury, which the keeper was anxious to avoid ; and at 
length they were driven out of the yard into the upper 
part of their wards, of which they remained in possession, 
having torn down the iron railing of the staircase, with the 
fragments of which, and all they could lay their hands 
upon, they barricaded the entrance to their wards, at the 
top of the stairs. The keepers having regained possession 
of the yards, several shots were again fired up the stairs, 
to intimidate and reduce the rioters to reason, but with no 
effect ; and Mr. Newman thought it would be risking the 
lives of his servants if he sent any of them upstairs to 
attack the convicts in their strongholds, barricaded as they 
were and provided with iron bars. One convict, who ven- 
tured to come down from the upper wards in order to lay 
hold of an iron bar, was seized by the legs and dragged into 
the yard by the turnkeys. Mr. Newman, soon after the 
riot broke out, procured the assistance of the city marshal- 
men and a number of constables, whom he so placed as to 
prevent the rioters from breaking prison or escaping in any 
way by the roof. He also sent to the Lord Mayor and 
Sheriffs for instructions how to act, but these gentlemen 
happened to be out of town. The watch, the robbery of 
which created all this disturbance, was not found ; and the 
convicts endeavoured to capitulate by proposing that they 
should at all times be allowed to see their friends ; but the 
keeper declared that they must implicitly submit to the 


regulations on this head appointed by the Magistrates and 
Judges. At one o'clock in the morning matters remained 
precisely in this situation. In two of the wards all was 
silent, but in the other two there were lights, and the 
convicts were seen pacing about. About an hour previously 
a noise was heard, as if they were endeavouring to break 
through the wall towards the College of Physicians in 
Warwick Lane; but in a short time the noise ceased. 
Constables and officers were posted in all parts where 
escape appeared possible ; and it seemed likely that the 
refractory would soon have to surrender at discretion, as 
they had got nothing but water wherewith to support their 
obstinacy ; while, if they attempted to set fire to the prison 
they must feel that they would be the first victims. The 
Lord Mayor, who had been expressly sent for, arrived at 
two in the morning ; and, after expressing his approbation 
of the care and humanity of the keeper, waited in the prison 
until six o'clock to see the result. Mr. Newman, being 
satisfied that none of the prisoners could escape, determined 
not to risk the lives of the constables or the prisoners by 
an attack on the latter. He, therefore, waited until the 
usual time of calling them to breakfast, when they were 
summoned to surrender, and informed that if they refused 
no food would be supplied to them that day. This was an 
a'rgumentum ad hominem all could understand ; and there- 
upon one prisoner came down, and brought information that 
the rest would suffer themselves to be taken. The officers 
then approached the staircase, and in less than an hour 
secured them all. Thirty of the ringleaders were picked 
out and locked up in punishment cells ; and then it was 
found that, while in possession of their wards, they had 
attempted to break their way through in various directions, 
but in every quarter found the walls too strong for them. 

That prisoners could escape from this jail was soon 
evidenced, for, on the evening of Sunday the 27th October 
next following, six felons, who had been cast for death, but 
reprieved, and were, in the course of the night, to have been 
removed from Newgate for transportation to Botany Bay, 
found means to cut through the roofs of their cells, situate 
at the top of the jail, and, tying their blankets together, 
18 , 


so formed a rope as to let themselves down in safety, in 
the space between the walls of Newgate and the College 
of Physicians. Thence they made their way over the yards 
of two houses to the back of the County Chronicle printing 
office; here the breaking of a skylight, over which they 
were clambering, caused them to be discovered by a man 
on the premises, who ran downstairs to give the alarm, but, 
before his return, five of them had jumped into the adjoining 
yard, and, rattling at the door, the female servant opened 
it, when they rushed by her, passed out at the front of the 
house, and got clear off. The sixth, not being sufficiently 
alert, was taken in the printing office, and conveyed to 
Giltspur Street Compter. The Lord Mayor, who was making 
his rounds, was there almost as soon as the recaptured 
prisoner; he immediately sent information of the escape 
to the different police offices, surveyed every part of New- 
gate, externally and internally, and gave various directions 
to prevent a repetition of escape. I cannot find whether 
the five who got away were ever captured, but the unhappy 
one who was caught was sent to the hulks the next day. 


Spa Fields Riots — Execution of Cashman— Report of the Committee of 1818 
— Cato Street Plot — Execution of Thistlewood and Four of his Gang 
— George Cruikshank and "Bank Restriction" Notes — Fauntleroy, the 
Forger — Other Executions, and last, for Forgery. 

On the 2nd December 1816 were the so-called " Spa Fields 
riots," during which, although they did not attack Newgate, 
they plundered the shop of a gunmaker named Beckwith, 
in Skinner Street, shooting a gentleman named Piatt, who 
was casually in the shop. This gentleman lingered some 
time, but eventually died of his wound ; and Cashman, who 
shot him, was duly tried at the Old Bailey, condemned to 
death, and hanged on 12th March 1817, in front of Mr. 
Beckwith's shop. His end was not edifying. The mob 
was howling at him, " and Cashman joined his voice to 
the shouts, crying out, ' Hurrah ! my Boys, I'll die like 
a man.' On his quitting the cart, and mounting the scaffold, 
the groans were redoubled; he seemed to enter into the 
spirit of the spectators, and joined in their exclamations 
with a terrific shout. . . . He now turned towards Mr. 
Beckwith's house, in an angry manner; and, shaking his 
head, said, ' I'll be with you — there ' ; meaning that he would 
haunt the house after his death. The executioner having 
quitted the platform, the unfortunate wretch addressed the 

crowd nearest him, and exclaimed — 'Now, you , give 

me three cheers when I trip.' And then, calling to the 

executioner, he cried out — ' Come, Jack, you , let go 

the jib boom.' He was cheering at the instant the fatal 
board fell." 

On the 8th May 1818 was printed, by order of the House 
of Commons, a Report from the Committee on the Prisons 
within the City of London, and the Borough of Southwark, 


and it is pleasing to find that it is an improvement on 
that of 1814. It says the prison is unfit for its purpose, 
and there is a want of classification. As to the boys' school, 
which was an innovation, it says : " The youthful offenders 
under sixteen years of age, untried and convicted, are placed 
together in what is called the School. They are kept apart 
from the men convicts, and have the use of the yards for 
two hours a day, at which time the men are locked up. 
To have a school, at all, seemed a step towards improve- 
ment ; but a school so constituted must suggest doubts as 
to its moral beneficial effects. At present, the school is 
regulated and taught by a convict. The crime of the 
individual so employed (as appears from the evidence) is 
not of that nature to affect, or encourage the propensity 
which these youthful offenders have indulged; but, if the 
benefit of impressive moral instruction is desired, little 
can be hoped from a convict of any description; even if 
he is sincere, he cannot have influence; for the boys are 
aware of the degraded position of their teacher. If a school 
is to be maintained, a person of unblemished reputation 
should be appointed ; and there ought to be a separation 
of the profligate from the less contaminated." 

As to cleanliness, the report is good, but an extra rug 
is suggested for the bedding. With regard to food, it says : 
" Formerly, the provision allowance was one pound of beef, 
without bone, delivered twice a week, and cooked by the 
prisoners themselves at their own time and pleasure ; and, 
daily, sixteen ounces of brown bread. The filth created 
by the cooking, and the improvidence of the prisoners, 
added to a conviction of the propriety of giving an allow- 
ance of vegetables, induced the Court of Aldermen to adopt 
a new system. A kitchen has been provided, a cook ap- 
pointed, and an alteration of the diet established. The 
allowance, now, is a pint of good gruel for breakfast: for 
dinner, alternately, half a pound of beef, (which, when 
cooked, weighs about six ounces) and a quart of soup, in 
which the meat was boiled the previous day, with barley 
and a variety of vegetables. This change has been of 
essential benefit, and has been generally approved of. And 
your Committee, on mature deliberation, and availing them- 


selves of the best information they have been able to acquire, 
consider the allowance and description of food, wholesome 
in quality, and sufficient in quantity for persons in such 
circumstances. Many of your Committee have tasted the 
bread, and several have tasted the soup and gruel, and are 
perfectly satisfied that they are good of their kind. The 
bread, in particular, which is baked at Giltspur Street 
Compter, by a person employed by the Court of Aldermen, 
vfas, when the Committee visited the prison, of a good and 
wholesome quality." 

As to Treatment. "On this head there has been no 
complaint from any quarter which has reached the know- 
ledge of your Committee. It is their duty to state a late 
improvement in this particular ; it had been the invariable 
practice, up to the present year, to put the accused in irons 
immediately on commitment to Newgate ; this was deemed 
necessary to guard against escape, and had, in some instances, 
been the means of detecting those attempting to escape in 
disguise. The Jail Committee of Aldermen have resolved 
on making a fair experiment of indulgences; and, having 
issued an order to exclude visitors from the interior of the 
prison (with certain humane and reasonable exceptions), the 
irons have been taken off from all the untried; and your 
Committee trust that a regulation so consonant with the 
situation of an unconvicted person, may be fully justified 
by the result." 

The infirmary is grumbled at because the convicted and 
unconvicted prisoners are jointly treated; but the general 
health is greatly commended. As to Heligious instruction : 
" Public service is performed on Sundays, Wednesdays and 
Fridays, and private, on other days, to the condemned. One 
service, only, was performed on Sundays, but the Court of 
Aldermen have caused their orders to be enforced, namely 
morning and evening service on Sundays. The Ordinary 
visits the prison daily, to give religious instruction to such 
persons v^ho profess a desire to receive it; and, by order 
of the Court of Aldermen, to administer the Sacrament once 
a month. Your Committee remark, that the Chapel is 
calculated to contain 350 persons, while, during the period 
of your Committee's inquiry, no less than 460 prisoners 


■were at one time in the prison: in order to remedy this 
inconvenience, they would suggest the propriety of dividing 
the service on Sunday, the morning being appropriated to 
the male, and the evening to the female prisoners; and 
that no person within the prison shall be permitted to 
absent themselves, unless their particular religion pre- 
vents them from attendance on worship of the Church 
of England. 

" On the whole, therefore, it appears to your Committee 
that, so far as the construction and extent of Newgate will 
permit, the treatment of the prisoners generally is such as 
meets with their approbation. The prison fare does not 
seem worse, or more severe, than is consistent with such an 
establishment, or injurious to the health of the prisoners. 
The attention of a former Committee was directed to the 
crowded state of Newgate ; which, at that time, was the 
place of confinement, not only for criminals, but, also, for 
debtors. The new prison in Whitecross street has relieved 
Newgate of the debtors; yet, with the conviction of the 
importance of classification and separation, which your 
Committee cannot too frequently, or too strongly, press on 
the attention of the House, they consider the accommoda- 
tion of this prison as still altogether inadequate. When 
the local position of Newgate is considered, and the great 
expense already incurred by the City of London, it cannot 
be expected that the present jail should be pulled down, 
and a better constructed, more commodious, and a more 
extended prison erected in its place, which could only be 
effected at a most enormous expense. Your Committee, 
therefore, must confine their suggestions of improvement to 
a change in the appropriation of the present Wildings. It 
appears to your Committee that very material improvement 
may be facilitated without any great or unreasonable sacrifice. 
The regular and immediate removal of convicts after every 
sessions would give scope for many important alterations, 
and provision ought to be made for that purpose, by an 
establishment, where, instead of being in a state of filth and 
idleness, the convicts may be usefully employed. And they 
may further remark that, if larcenies were tried at the 
Quarter Sessions, as in other counties, instead of being tried 


at the Old Bailey, a considerable influx of prisoners would be 
prevented. But, if your Committee might venture to suggest 
what appears to them the most expedient arrangement, they 
would recommend that Newgate, as attached to the Old 
Bailey, should be exclusively appropriated to prisoners for 
trial. On a review, then, of the whole evidence concerning 
Newgate, as well as the observations they were able to make 
while inspecting the prison, your Committee are decidedly 
of opinion that the public interest requires a speedy altera- 
tion in the condition of Newgate. They impute no blame 
to the present keeper {Mr. Brown), and the orders and 
regulations he has adopted under the sanction of the City 
Magistrates are a good improvement ; but the want of 
sufficient room to classify the prisoners — the entire absence, 
as far as men and boys are concerned, of all employment — 
the promiscuous assemblage of persons of all descriptions, 
ages, and characters of crime, have deeply impressed your 
Committee with the opinion that no one can enter the walls 
of Newgate without going out thence more depraved and 
corrupted than when first committed thereto. And though 
the Magistrates of the City of London have shown a praise- 
worthy disposition to remedy the grievances complained of 
in former times, yet from the overcrowded state of the 
prison, and the confined accommodation for its numerous 
inhabitants, the main and prominent evils cannot be removed ; 
and still less would it be possible so to regulate its interior 
arrangement as to fit it for those purposes of reformatory 
punishment which the good of society requires." Thus we 
see that the Committee of 1814 had been productive of some 
good, although much remained to be done. 

The next event of any importance with regard to 
Newgate was the execution of Thistlewood and four others 
of the Cato Street ^ conspirators, on 1st May 1820. Arthiu- 
Thistlewood, born in 1770, was the son of a farmer, and was 
brought up as a land surveyor, although he never followed 
that profession. He held a commission in a militia regiment, 
and married a woman with some fortune, which, after her 
early death, reverted to her family, who allowed him a small 

1 Cato Street led out of John Street, Edgware Koad, and was the 
second turning on the^south side of the street, now called Horace Street. 



annuity. He had imbibed revolutionary principles from 
reading the works of Payne and others, and was mixed up 
with the Spa Fields riots, for which he was imprisoned in 
the Tower, stood a trial for high treason, and was acc[uitted. 
Ever afterwards he was trifling with treason, which culmin- 
ated in a plot to kill the Cabinet Ministers whilst at dinner 
with the Earl of Harrowby. One man was to go with a note 
to the earl, and when the door was opened, the others were to 
rush in and seize the servants, threatening them with death 

if they stirred. This done, 
men were to take charge of 
different parts of the house, 
to prevent the escape of the 
servants, and if they at- 
tempted to stir, to throw a 
lighted hand-grenade among 
them. At the same time,- 
the men who were to do the 
assassination were to rush 
into the room in which the 
Cabinet Ministers were, and 
to murder them all, good 
and bad ; if there were any 
good ones, they were to be 
murdered for keeping bad 
company. Every head was 
to be cut off, and those of 
Lords Castlereagh and Sid- 
mouth were to be brought 
away in a bag specially 
provided. Afterwards, two 
men were to go to the King Street barracks, and fling a 
fire-ball into the straw shed. The rest of the party were to 
proceed to Gray's Inn Lane, to the barracks of the City Light 
Horse, to assist the men in taking the cannon which were 
there. Thence they were to go to the Artillery ground and 
capture the six cannon there. These were to be loaded, and 
fired on any persons disposed to resist. They were then to 
march to the Mansion-house, and plant three cannon on 
each side of it. Possession of the civic mansion was then 

ak rill K 'nu.sri t.w(;!>i) 




to be demanded ; and, if refused, the building was to be fired 
at. It was eventually to be the seat of the Provisional 
Government. Then the bank was to be attacked, and the 
funds were to be removed, but the books were not to be 
destroyed, as they would enable the conspirators to see 
further into the villainy practised on the country for years 

past; and handbills were to be posted: "Your tyrants 
are destroyed. The friends of Liberty are called upon to 
come forward. The Provisional Government is now sitting 
James Ings, Secretary, 23rd Fei. 1820." The usual place of 
meeting was at 4 Fox's Court, Gray's Inn Lane, but on 21st 
February a loft over a stable in Cato Street, Edgware Eoad, 


was takea for the purpose of storing pikes, hand-grenades 
and firearms. Of course, there was the usual traitor among 
them, and on the day fixed for the execution of their plot, 
warrants were issued for their apprehension, and sufficient 
force provided for the purpose. The conspirators were 
found in the Cato Street loft, in the act of arming for the 
murder at Lord Harrowby's, and in the melee which took 
place, Thistlewood killed a police officer. A party of soldiers 
under the command of Captain Frederick Fitz Clarence (a 
son of King William iv.), soon captured them, but Thistle- 
wood escaped until the next day, when he was taken at 
8 White Street, Moorfields. The prisoners were committed 
to the Tower, and were the last persons who have been 
incarcerated there as State prisoners. They were tried at 
the Old Bailey, when eleven of them were condemned to 
death, of whom only five were executed, namely, Thistlewood, 
Ings, Tidd, Brunt, and Davidson. The old and brutal 
sentence then in force in cases of high treason, that they 
were to be mutilated, disembowelled, and quartered, was not 
carried out in its entirety. They (at least four of them) met 
their fate with bravado ; and, after they had hanged for half- 
an-hour they were cut down and decapitated only, as seen in 
the illustration. This ceremony of decapitation provoked a 
lively expression of horror and disgust from the assembled 
multitude outside Newgate. The streets in the neighbour- 
hood were lined with a strong cavalry force ; and a very 
considerable addition of military of all arms was made' to 
the usual garrison of the metropolis, during the trials, and 
up to the end of the execution. 

It must have been somewhere about this time that 
George Cruikshank published his " Bank Eestriction Note," 
concerning which (with his usual modesty) he tells the 
following story in a note by him in the catalogue of the 
exhibition of his works at Exeter Hall, 1863: — ^" About 
thirty or forty years back, there were ' one pound ' Bank 
of England notes in circulation; and, unfortunately, there 
were, at the time, a great many forged Bank of England 
notes in circulation also, or being ' passed ' ; the punishment 
for which offence was, in some cases, transportation, in 
others, death. At this period I resided in the City, (in 


Salisbury Square, Fleet Street), and, having occasion to go 
early one morning to the Koyal Exchange, upon my return, 
between eight or nine o'clock, passed down Ludgate Hill ; 
and, seeing a crowd at the corner of the Old Bailey, 
suspected that there was the punishment of death being 
carried out in front of the jail of Newgate : and, upon 
looking in that direction, saw several persons suspended 
from the gibbet. Two of these were women, who had been 
executed for passing One Vova\6i forged notes. I was much 
shocked at this sight ; and, reflecting upon the number of 
persons who were put to death for this offence, I deter- 
mined, if possible, to put a stop to so terrible a punishment 
for such a crime ; and, upon my return home, I made a 
sketch of the above note, and then made an etching of it. 
Mr. Hone, then of Ludgate Hill, published it, and, when it 
appeared, it created a 'sensation.' The Directors of the 
Bank of England were exceedingly wroth. The crowd 
round Hone's shop was so great, that the Lord Mayor had 
to send the police to clear the street, and these notes were 
in such demand, that they could not be printed fast enough, 
and I had to sit up all one night to etch and send plates. 
Mr. Hone realised above £700, and I had the satisfaction 
of knowing that no man or woman was ever hung after this 
for passing One pound Bank of England Notes." 

He also drew a variant from that of Hone, which was 
published by Duncombe of Little Queen Street, in which 
may be noticed a few slight variations; for instance, 
although the Britannia is, in both cases, devouring her 
children, yet the frames are different. (See pages 284-5.) 

The 30th November 1824 witnessed the execution, at 
Newgate, of Henry Eauntleroy, a banker, for forgery. He 
was a partner in the bank of Marsh, Sibbald & Co., of 
Berners Street, London, of which, from his intimate know- 
ledge of the business, he had virtually the sole control. On 
14th September 1824 the bank announced in the news- 
papers that they were compelled to suspend payment, on 
account of "the very unexpected situation in which we 
find ourselves placed by the extraordinary conduct of our 
partner, Mr. Eauntleroy." He was arrested on a charge 
of forging the signatures of trustees in order to sell 



Government securities. Then, at the Police Court, ease 
after case of a similar nature came out, and he was duly 
committed for trial, and lodged in Newgate. His trial 
came off on 30th October at the Old Bailey, and the most 
damning evidence against him was found in a tin box, which 
contained a list of his defalcations in his own handwriting, 
together with the following declaration : — " In order to keep 
up the credit of our house, I have forged powers of attorney 
for the above sums and parties, and sold out to the amount 
here stated, and without the knowledge of my partners, 
I kept up the payment of the dividends, but made no entry 

See page 283. 

of such payments in our books. The Bank began first to 
refuse to discount our acceptances, and to destroy the credit 
of our house, the Bank shall smart for it." For his defence 
he read a paper stating that on his joining the firm in 1807, 
he found the concern deeply involved, in consequence of 
building speculations. The house remained in embarrass- 
ment until 1810, when it experienced an overwhelming 
loss from the failure of Brickwood & Co., for which concern 
they had accepted and discounted bills to the amount of 
£170,000. In 1814, 1815, and 1816 the firm was called 



upon, in consequence of the speculations in building, to 
produce £100,000. In the year 1819 the most responsible 
of the partners died, and the embarrassments of the house 
were increased by being called upon to refund his capital. 
During all this time, the house was without resources, 
except those for which he was now responsible. He had 
received no relief from his partners. Two had overdrawn 
£100,000. He kept two establishments on a very moderate 
scale. He never embezzled one shilling. He was found 
guilty and sentenced to death. Great interest was made 


/lj.jy/€' try"' 

Q-Zfyf ■///<- (/Pf. y//i// t {:>^?y^ :/>/.//ui 



See page 283. 

in his behalf for a commutation of his sentence, but the 
King respited every prisoner capitally sentenced at that 
Sessions, "excepting Henry Fauntleroy, upon whom the 
law was left to take its course." A contemporary account 
of his execution says : " At eight o'clock the crowd assembled 
was immense. Not only did the multitude extend in one 
compact mass from Ludgate Hill to nearly the beginning of 
Smithfield, but Skinner Street, N'ewgate Street, Ludgate 
Hill, places from which it was impossible to get a glimpse 
of the scaffold, were blocked up by persons who were pre- 


vented by the dense crowd before them from advancing 
further. Every window or house roof which could 
command a view of the dreadful ceremony was likewise 
occupied. Without overrating the number of persons 
assembled, they might be estimated at nearly 100,000. 
The crowd was equal to that which attended the execu- 
tion of Thistlewood and his associates." Fauntleroy led 
a dual existence, that of the keen, hard man of business, 
and that of the epicure and sensualist. There is a story 
told, which may be true or not, that some of his fast friends 
came to have a parting interview with him in Newgate. 
They were leaving, when one turned back, and speaking to 
the condemned man, said, " Fauntleroy, you stand on the 
verge of the grave ; Eemember the text ' We brought nothing 
into this world, and it is certain we can take nothing out ' ; 
have you any objection, now, as a friend, to tell me where 
you got your Curasao from ? " 

Capital punishment for forgery was coming to an end 
Captain Charles Montgomery was ordered for execution on 
4th July 1828 on this charge, but he took a dose of prussic 
acid to save himself from the ignominy of the gallows, and 
was found dead in his cell. Joseph Hunton, a Quaker, was 
hanged at Newgate for forgery, 8th December 1828 ; and 
the next case, that of Thomas Maynard, who suffered on 
31st December 1829, was the last who paid with his life for 
the commission of this crime. 


Laxity in Newgate — Aldermen's Report thereon — Report of Committee on 
the Laws relating to Prisons, 1837 — Reconstruction of Newgate, 1857 — 
Women's Side Reconstructed, 1861 — Last Batch of Convicts Hanged — 
The "Flowery Land" Pirates— Last Public Execution, 1868— Effects 
of Explosion at Clerkenwell Prison — New Rules for Executions — New- 
gate only to be used for Sessions Prisoners. 

In 1836, the inspectors of prisons reported on certain laxities 
in the government of Newgate, and a committee of the 
Court of Aldermen investigated their complaints. The 
following is taken from their Eeport to the House of 
Commons, 2nd July 1836 : — " The first subject to which we 
are naturally led to advert, is the complaint made by the 
Inspectors of the non-classification of the male prisoners. 
It cannot be questioned but that the Eules for the better 
government of Newgate dated 2 June 1817, and those of 
the Act 4 George iv. c. 64, which we shall hereafter desig- 
nate as the G-aoI Act, with regard to the classification of 
prisoners, have not been observed in Newgate. But it must 
be obvious to any unprejudiced person, that in a prison, 
constructed as Newgate is, and used as it is for the reception 
of such various descriptions of prisoners as are thereto com- 
mitted, it is impossible that the classification directed, could 
be carried into effect. There are seasons (and that which 
the Inspectors appear to have selected as the most fitting 
on which to found their Eeport is one of them) when the 
prison is so crowded" as to present greater obstacles than 
usual to the observance of such rules. From the evidence 
of the keeper, it appears that there were at one period of 
their inspection no fewer than 127 male transports in his 
custody ; and, as that period was near the termination of 
a session, the number of untried prisoners, or rather of 
prisoners in custody, under commitments for trial, was few 
compared with that of the convicted. 


" As regards the classification, we find that such of the 
prisoners as are not more than 15 years old, are placed in a 
yard by themselves, containing two wards, which is desig- 
nated ' The Boy's School Yard.' 

" As to the others, it appears to us that, in their classi- 
fication, regard has been had to the previous habits and 
associations of the individuals, rather than to other con- 
siderations : we think it right, however, to observe, that we 
see no reason to believe that the possession, or the want of 
money, has had any weight in determining the place to 
which prisoners committed for trial have been assigned. 
We will endeavour to illustrate our meaning by a reference 
to the evidence of Mr. Cope. 

" It appears that in the Chapel yard are placed persons 
committed for trial on various charges of felony therein 
enumerated, and also for misdemeanours of various kinds, 
to whom are also added persons committed by the Court 
of King's Bench, and by Commissioners of Bankrupts and 
Taxes; also persons whose Judgments have been respited, 
and those who are technically termed ' Newgate Fines,' 
being convicts, who, from the lightness of their offences, 
have been sentenced by the Central Criminal Court to short 
periods of imprisonment for felonies, and those who, for 
misdemeanours of which they have been convicted, have 
been sentenced to various terms of imprisonment in New- 
gate, as the common jail of the County. It has, also, been 
the custom to have in this yard prisoners, who, in the 
Eeport of the Inspectors, are denominated ' the insane,' 
being persons who have been acquitted of the offences 
imputed to them on the ground of insanity, and some of 
the comparatively more decent description of persons con- 
victed of assaults of an abominable nature. Upon the two 
latter description of persons it will be our duty to make 
distinct observations, both as applied to this, and other 
parts of the gaol. 

"In the yard, on the master's side, and in the middle 
yard, are also confined prisoners of the same description, 
as regards the causes of their confinement, as those before 
enumerated ; those in the former place being persons whose 
condition in life is considered to have been somewhat less 


respectable than those who have been consigned to the 
chapel yard, while those in the middle yard are prisoners 
whose squalid and filthy appearance, on their being received 
into the gaol, has been such as to make it proper that they 
should be kept apart from the more healthy and decent. 

" It should be remarked that every prisoner, whatever 
may be his appearance, upon first being brought to the gaol, 
is placed in what is termed a receiving ward, until he shall 
have been examined by the surgeon ; a mode of proceeding, 
the propriety of which, it is apprehended, cannot be 

" With reference to ' the insane,' or, to speak more cor- 
rectly, persons who have been acquitted on the ground of 
insanity, we find that immediately after the conclusion of 
every session, at which any one or more of such acquittals 
have taken place, representation of the fact has been made 
at the Office of His Majesty's Secretary of State for the 
Home Department, and that such representations have been 
followed by repeated solicitations for the removal of the 
prisoners. In the annual reports, made under the provi- 
sions of the Gaol Act, and transmitted to the Home 
Secretary, the fact of such persons remaining in the gaol, and 
the consequent inconvenience resulting therefrom, have been 
constantly noticed. And further, that after the removal of 
such prisoners under an order from the Home Office to the 
Lunatic Asylum at Hanwell, they have been returned to 
Newgate, as not being, in fact, insane ; and that, upon 
representations of that fact at the Home Office, the result 
has been an expression of regret that such has turned out 
to be the case, with an intimation that the Keeper of New- 
gate must do the best he could, under the circumstances. 
The persons designated ' insane,' who have been mixed with 
other prisoners, cannot be considered as, and, in point of 
fact, are not, dangerous persons; and while it is, as we 
consider, greatly to be lamented that they should be allowed 
by the Government to remain in the prison, we cannot con- 
ceive that, under existing circumstances, they could have 
been better disposed of than they have been. 

" Great difficulty has arisen in disposing of those prisoners 
convicted of assaults of an abominable nature. The Keeper 


would not be justified in subjecting them to solitary confine- 
ment, neither would the construction of the gaol allow of 
the infliction of such punishment, unless by placing them in 
cells scarcely accessible to light, or air, and which are only 
used for the confinement of the most refractory prisoners, 
for periods of short duration, as a punishment for offences 
committed within the gaol. That they should be confined 
together, apart from the other prisoners, would be obviously 
improper, and it was, therefore, considered most expedient, 
as a choice of evils, that they should be dispersed in different 
parts of the gaol. This course Vas resorted to, under the 
impression that while thus mixed, they would be prevented 
from indulging in vicious propensities amongst themselves. 
Whether the course which has been adopted, be, or be not 
deserving of censure, we stop not here to inquire ; but we 
deem it an act of justice to the Keeper to observe, that in 
this respect, at least, he ought to be absolved from blame, 
as that which he had done, has been done under the direction 
of magistrates whom he has consulted on the subject. 

" On the subject of the appointment of convicted prisoners 
to act as wards men, we find that it has been a custom of 
long standing, and has, in a great degree, risen from neces'- 
sity. It has been represented to us, and we are disposed to 
think, with perfect truth, that the practice has proved 
beneficial. The prisoner so appointed is selected for his 
good conduct, and his comparative good character, and the 
most important communications have been received by the 
Keeper from prisoners acting in that capacity. We under- 
stand that the Government have always been cognizant of 
the fact; and, in all cases where a Convict sentenced to 
transportation has been appointed, it has been represented 
at the Home Office, and permission obtained thence for his 
or her being retained in the prison instead of being sent 
a^Yay to undergo the sentence of the Court. 

" The permission for any prisoner to receive that which 
is technically termed 'garnish,' being a compensation for 
using articles for the domestic accommodation of other 
prisoners, is certainly contrary to the directions of the Gaol 
Act. We find that provision has been made of all necessary 
articles of the description alluded to for the use of prisoners; 


and the discontinuance of the practice is, therefore, in future 

" In reference to the ' cards, the cribbage board and pegs, 
and two draught boards and men ' mentioned in the Eeport 
of the Inspectors, the Keeper, in answer to our questions on 
the subject, has stated that he has never detected gaming 
going on in the prison without punishing it ; he added, that 
the cards in question were an old pack, and that he had not 
seen them until they were found by the Inspectors. With 
respect to the draught boards, he stated that they were 
pieces of paper, which might be folded and put away in an 
instant, and the men were pieces of pasteboard curled up ; 
that the cribbage board was a piece of wood, which the 
prisoners appear to have got into the ward, and to have 
made the holes with a piece of iron heated in the fire at 
night. It seems that these articles might have been easily, 
and that in all probability they were, concealed from the 
keeper and his officers when going their rounds. 

" As to the ' tobacco pipes, with the tobacco remaining in 
some of them, and a box with tobacco in it,' mentioned in 
the Eeport of the Inspectors as having been found by them, 
we find, on reference to the Prison Eegulations of June 1817 
that the smoking tobacco in the bed rooms, the infirmary, and 
in the sick and convalescent wards, is forbidden. The regu- 
lations appear to sanction, at anyrate they do not forbid, the 
smoking tobacco in other parts of the prison. If the smok- 
ing has taken place within the room where the pipes were 
found, the regulations will clearly have been violated, 
inasmuch as the room is used both as a day room and a 
bed room : the Inspectors, however, confine themselves, in 
their Eeport, to the fact of having found the pipes and 
tobacco, and it is by no means improbable that the smoking 
may have taken place in the yard, in which case there will 
not have been any violation of the rules. It is quite true 
that the Lords' Eeport of 1835 recommends that the use of 
tobacco, in any shape, by the prisoners, be prohibited \ but, 
while it is our earnest wish to treat that Eeport with all 
possible respect, it must be remembered that it has not the 
force of Law 

" The bundle of ' Newspapers, twelve in all,' found by the 


Inspectors, we have learnt from Mr. Cope's examination, 
were, in point of fact, twelve newspapers several years old, 
which had been brought into the prison, at the request of a 
prisoner, named Foulger, there being contained therein some 
notice of his case. A daily newspaper seems to have been 
taken in by the prisoners, but it does not appear to us that 
this is a violation of any law, or regulation. The Sunday 
papers, as we find the testimony given to us, were prohibited, 
and the keeper considered that, if any were admitted, they 
were a portion of the edition published on the Saturday 

"We have had produced to us certain instruments, 
represented to be those alluded to in the Eeport of the 
Inspectors, as being ' all of them instruments calculated to 
facilitate attempts at breaking out of prison.' We would 
refer to the evidence of the keeper as to the particular 
nature of these instruments ; to us, certainly, they did not 
appear calculated for any such purpose ; nor did it occur to 
us, on inspection, that they were the ' dangerous weapons ' 
which the Inspectors seem to have considered them. 

" We now come to that part of the Inspectors' Eeport 
which relate to the books found by them in their progress 
through the prison. Passing by the other books particu- 
larised in their Eeport, we confine ourselves to the notice of 
a book referred to, for the name of which, and its author, 
blanks are left ; but the name of Stockdale is mentioned as 
that of the publisher. Upon reading the report of the 
Inspectors, with the blanks to which we have adverted, the 
statement of the name of the publisher, and the additional 
statement ' that the book was of a most disgusting nature, 
and the plates obscene and indecent in the extreme,' we were 
prepared to have met with a publication very different from 
that which was handed to us, as being the identical book 
referred to by the Inspectors. We found that it bore the 
title of 'The Generative System of John Eobertson,' and 
that it was dedicated, by permission, to the late Dr. Baillie. 
It appeared, on a careful examination, to be a scientific 
book ; the plates to be purely anatomical, calculated only to 
attract the attention of persons connected with surgical 
science ; and we learned from Mr. Cope, that it belonged to 


the aforesaid prisoner, Foulger, ^Yllo had been captain of a 
whaler, and had devoted himself to such studies. 

" As respects prisoners drawing briefs for each other, we 
should, on account of the prisoner, prefer that this were done 
by other hands ; but, still, we cannot think that it would be 
right, with the exception which we are about to notice, that 
a prisoner should be, in any manner, restricted as to the 
person whom he or she may select for the purpose of prepar- 
ing the brief for counsel. "\Ve are decidedly of opinion, that 
on no account should a male prisoner be allowed to transact 
that business for a female ; at the same time, we deem it 
right to add, that it does not appear to us that any improper 
intercourse, or the means of holding it, have been allowed, 
or connived at, in any instance, of males being so employed 
by female prisoners ; nor do we, after having inspected the 
prison, consider that any opportunities are afforded by the 
means through wliich the parties are allowed to communicate 
with each other. 

" The Inspectors, in their Eeport, speak in language of 
censure of the mode of admitting visitors, and the description 
of persons admitted. On this subject, it appears to us that 
the officers of the prison have considerable difficulties to 
contend with. Attempts to practice deception may, in Inany 
instances, have succeeded ; and notoriously bad characters 
have been, no doubt, sometimes admitted. It is, however, 
unhappily the case, that such characters, in many instances, 
are the sole associates of the inmates of a prison ; that to 
forbid their receiving visits from persons of doubtful, or even 
notoriously bad character, would be to exclude them alto- 
gether from their acquaintance, and even relations; and 
thereby to prevent them from preparing their defence, and 
receiving changes of linen at stated periods ; an accommoda- 
tion which, in a prison where, as in Newgate, there are not 
the means for male prisoners to wash their linen, is essentially 

"As respects the mode in which the beer is admitted 
into the prison ; under the existing regulations, it is to be 
brought into the gaol, only once a day ; and the amount is 
to be limited to a pint fer diem to each prisoner. The 
Eeport of the Inspectors tends to sliow great abuse of this 


regulation. That it may have been abused is not improbable. 
The keeper has permitted a prisoner to drink a portion of 
his allowance at the time of receiving it ;. and to save the 
remainder to be used in the after part of the day. We do 
not see how abuse can be effectually guarded against, unless 
each prisoner were compelled to come to the place where 
the beer is delivered, to take his allowed portion, or so much 
thereof as he can afford, or may choose to purchase, and to 
drink the whole at one time. 

" The Report contains a complaint of drunkenness on 
the part of a wardsman, and one of a similar nature on that 
of a wardswoman. The former complaint we believe to 
have originated in error ; as to the latter, it is to be regretted 
that the Inspectors have not gone on to state the additional 
facts, that the case was immediately reported by the keeper 
to the Home Office, and that not only was the delinquent 
removed from the office of wardswoman, but sent from the 
gaol to undergo her sentence of transportation. 

" As to the bedding provided for the prisoners, it is of 
the description mentioned in the Eeport of the Inspectors. 
Whether this is, or is not to be considered as ' suitable 
bedding' within the meaning of the Gaol Act, we do not 
feel called upon to determine. 

" On visiting the different parts of the gaol, we were 
gratified to observe its general cleanly appearance. In 
many of the tables there were letters cut, which appeared to 
us to be the initials of prisoners who had been, formerly, 
inmates of the place. There were, also, devices cut out 
which may have served the purpose of gaming: but they 
appeared to us to have been marks of considerable standing. 
" The washing places, on the male side, are in the open 
air ; and we think it would be a great improvement if the 
prisoners were enabled to wash themselves in situations 
where they would not be exposed to the inclemency of the 

"We deem it our duty to notice particularly the mention 
made by the Inspectors in their Eeport, of their visit to the 
condemned cells, and the terms of censure in which it 
abounds. It seems to us, that, in this respect, the keeper 
is not deserving of blame. The fault is to be found in that 


which he cannot control : viz., the practice sanctioned, and, 
indeed, required by law, of sentencing to the punishment of 
death so many of our fellow creatures for crimes, for the 
commission of which, in these enlightened times, the penalty 
is not exacted. We presume not to offer an opinion upon 
the course adopted by the learned Eecorder and his brother 
Commissioners, who, upon that occasion, constituted the 
Court, in selecting particular prisoners upon whom to pass 
the sentence of death separately from their unhappy fellow 
prisoners who were subject to the like sentence. "We appre- 
hend, however, that the keeper could not, and ought not to 
recognise any distinction between persons, all of whose lives 
had been forfeited. It was not for him, by any such dis- 
tinction, to intimate an opinion as to the individuals to 
whom the Crown might, in the exercise of its prerogative, 
extend its mercy, and those upon whom the uplifted hand of 
Justice must fall unstayed. We, therefore, submit, that 
although the propriety of compliance, on the part of the 
Sheriffs, with the request adverted to in the Eeport (with 
the view, we trust, on the part of the unhappy convicts, of 
being allowed facilities for the performance of duties, and 
the cultivation of feeUngs suited to their awful circum- 
stances), must be most manifest ; still, that the keeper 
acted only in the strict and correct performance of his duty, 
in the course originally pursued by him. 

" We come now to that part of that Eeport which relates 
to the division of Newgate allotted to the reception of 
female prisoners. Here, as on the male side, there is a 
receiving ward, in which each prisoner is placed upon her 
commitment, until she shall have been examined by the 
surgeon. There are, in this department of the prison, 
besides the infirmary and receiving ward, two divisions, the 
one for untried prisoners, the other for convicts. Each 
description of prisoners, however, may communicate with 
the other from the windows of their respective wards, 
whence they may see into the yard of the adjoining 

"We agree in opinion with the Inspectors, that the 
situations of the washing places, in the female side, are 
objectionable, and' that if it shall be found practicable, pro- 


vision ought to be made for allowing the female prisoners 
to wash themselves under cover, and free from observation. 

"We are of opinion that the shop, at the entrance to 
the female side, should be discontinued; and, further, if 
Newgate is to continue a prison for the reception of females, 
this portion should be so separated from the other, as that 
all intercourse between prisoners of different sexes should 
be as effectually prevented as if they were confined in 
separate prisons. We are anxious to avoid all probable 
misunderstanding on this subject; and, therefore, think it 
right, distinctly to state, that the intercourse between male 
and female prisoners, so far as we have been able to ascertain, 
has not been, in any instance, of any other description than 
that between female prisoners and their visitors from without 
the gaol, by oral communication, through iron gratings. 

" With regard to the employment of female prisoners, in 
rendering assistance in the keeper's house, we are decidedly 
of opinion that the practice ought not, on any account, to be 
repeated. It is, however, but justice to the keeper, to 
state, that, in our opinion, the two cases referred to by him, 
in his evidence before us, are of a nature which (though the 
practice cannot be justified) furnish much extenuation of the 
fault into which he has fallen. 

" We think the supply of soap is scarcely sufficient, and 
lament that there have not, until recently, been any combs, 
or towels, provided." 

The remainder of the report deals with the conduct of 
the keepers, of no interest, and it winds up : — 

" As the result of our investigation of the matters 
referred to us, we have no hesitation in avowing our con- 
viction that, in the Eeport of the Inspectors, undue import- 
ance has been given to isolated facts : that, constructed as 
the gaol of Newgate is, at present, it is impossible that any 
approach can be made to the classification contemplated by 
the framer of the Gaol Act, unless Newgate be converted 
into a prison for the sole custody of untried prisoners 
committed on charges of felony and misdemeanour, and 
provision consequently made for the sentencing of convicts 
immediately upon their conviction, and for their immediate 
removal to some other place of confinement to undergo 


their sentence, where it shall be one of imprisonment ; and 
preparatory to their doing so, in cases where it shall be of a 
more penal nature." 

Nobody attempted to deny that Newgate was very 
defective as a prison for modern times and ideas. When 
it was built, people were not so refined in their feelings as 
they afterwards became, and had no thought of a prison 
being made a place of comfort for its inmates. But the 
time was coming, although not quite ripe, for an alteration, 
and in a report from the Select Committee on the Laws 
relating to Prisons, 1837, we find that it was : " I. Eesolved. 
That it is the opinion of this Committee, that it is expedient 
to find means for the separate confinement of Prisoners 
committed for Trial before the Central Criminal Court. 
ir. That for this purpose it is advisable, either to recon- 
struct Newgate, or to build a new Prison adjoining the place 
of trial. III. That the mode of carrying these Eesolutions 
into effect, with the consent of the authorities of the City, 
requires the immediate consideration of His Majesty's 
Government; and that competent Surveyors should be 
employed for the purpose of forming a mature decision. 
IV. That it is expedient to revise the Act 4 and 5 Geo. iv. 
commonly called the Gaol Act, and to give greater discre- 
tion to the Secretary of State and the Magistrates of 
Counties and Boroughs, with respect to the classification 
of Offenders." 

Still nothing was done, and it was shelved for twenty 
years, until it suddenly cropped up in a letter written to 
The Times, 20th January 1857, by Alderman Eose, in which 
he states that plans for the reconstruction of the north wing 
of the prison of Newgate, as part of an entire reconstruction 
proposed by the Gaol Committee of the Court of Aldermen, 
were submitted to the Secretary of State for his approval in 
the early part of the previous year. They were returned to 
the Committee for "reconsideration and more minute 
details," and with suggestions having reference to the re- 
quirements of such a prison. He added that fresh plans 
were now in the hands of the Secretary of State, and re- 
construction would be commenced as soon as they received 
his approval. 


Nor was there long to wait, as^ we see by the following 
paragraph from The Times of 26th May 1857 :— " The Court 
of Aldermen having determined on the rebuilding of 
Newgate Gaol, on the cellular system, the plans proposed 
for that purpose by Mr. Bunning, their architect, have been 
adopted, and the works commenced by the demolition of the 
present north wing of the prison, containing wards in which 
several prisoners were usually congregated together; and, 
also, the condemned cells. The portion of the intended 
building now in progress, will consist of five stories above 
the basement, and contain 130 separate cells, with access 
thereto on each story above the ground floor, by means of 
galleries on either side of a central corridor, the entire 
height and length of the building, covered with a ground 
glass roof. The basement story will contain punishment 
cells, baths and store rooms. Airing yards will be attached 
to the building, and adequate accommodation provided for 
the officers in charge of the prisoners. The systems of the 
ceUs and ventilation will be similar to that which has been 
successfully adopted at the City prison, Holloway, which 
was, also, erected from Mr. Bunning's designs. The 
building will be entirely fireproof; and, instead of the 
prisoners being taken, as now, from the van, in view of 
the public, the plan for the new building is so arranged, 
that the van will be driven into the gaol, and the gates 
closed on the prisoners before they alight. In the re- 
building of the gaol, the governor's house, and the external 
walls will be retained, so that the architectural ■ features of 
the present structure will not be interfered with. The 
amount of the contract for the works now in progress is 
£12,550." The portion then altered included the Press 
room and the old condemned cells, and, with some slight 
alterations, the buildings remained the same until their 

The Times of 19th November 1858 chronicles the finish 
of the alterations, and gives a somewhat long description, 
of which I only take small portions. "The new cells are 
erected upon five different corridors, known as A. B. C. D. and 
E., which are built over one another, and extend down each 
side of the building. A long row of neat and strong iron 



railings extends the whole length of the corridor, and the 
whole are connected by flights of iron steps. The flooring 
of the corridors and the cells is of asphalte, and the whole 
building presents a most beautifully clean appearance. On 
the basement floor are six reception cells, in which every 

The Modern Interior. 

prisoner brought to the gaol is placed until he is seen and 
examined by the surgeon; and he is not allowed to be 
placed in his class, until it is ascertained that he is in a 
state of health and cleanliness to allow of this being done 


with safety. On this floor there are, also, bath rooms, amply 
supplied with hot and cold water, and a steam apparatus for 
supplying the whole of this portion of the prison with hot 
air. There are also some punishment cells, as they are 
termed, but they are made exactly on the .same principle 
as the others, with this difference, they are dark. The 
prisoners are classed in the following manner : — The A. 
Corridor is appropriated to boys and remanded prisoners : 
the B. to convicts under sentence, and awaiting the orders 
of the Government, for their removal : the C. to prisoners 
who are known thieves : the D. to prisoners not known to 
have been in prison before ; and the E. to prisoners charged 
with misdemeanour. Warm air is forced from the steam 
apparatus through a grating in the top of the cell, and there 
is another grating on the opposite side, by which the external 
air. is admitted; and the prisoner has the power of regulat- 
ing the temperature of his cell, by closing, or opening this 
grating at his pleasure. Each prisoner is allowed upwards 
of 12 gallons of water a clay. This is supplied from large 
tanks placed on the top of the prison, which are divided into 
separate compartments, each holding that quantity of water, 
and which has a separate connection with every cell. The 
prisoners in the different classes are visited every morning, 
and, also, at intervals during the. day by the Governor, the 
Ordinary, the Surgeon, or his assistant, and by the principal 
warders ; and, if a prisoner has a necessity for assistance of 
any kind, he has only to turn a handle in his cell, which 
strikes a gong ; and, at the same instant, a ticket with the 
name of the corridor and number of the cell flies out, and 
the ofiicer on duty sees at once where his attention is re- 
quired, the whole of the corridors, and the exterior of all 
the cells being within his view. The usual employment of 
the prisoners is that of picking oakum, but they are also 
required to clean their several corridors and cells. A great 
many of them, at their own request, have been employed at 
painting, whitewashing, &c., and for this, they receive an 
additional allowance of food." And, according to a report 
made by the Ordinary in January 1859, the new prison 
seems to have worked very well as a reformatory as well 
as being a penitentiary; and so the gaol was left until 



1861-62, when a similar block was built for the accommo- 
dation of female prisoners, who, during the rebuilding, were 
relegated to Holloway prison, which was opened for the 
reception of prisoners 6th February 1852. The number 
of prisoners decreased, being drafted to other gaols, the old 
portions of the buildings were unused, and Newgate was 
then practically as at its demolition. 

From this time Newgate, as a building, has no history, 
and to detail all its criminals, both rogues and murderers, 
would run into another volume and be very unsavoury 
reading, but one- or two facts connected with it come within 

the scope of this book. For example, the execution of five 
men for the murder of the captain of the ship Flowery Land 
on 10th September 1863, was the last instance of a batch of 
criminals being executed at one time. There were seven 
prisoners, but only five were hanged, and their names were 
Blanco, Leone, Duranno, Lopez, and Watts, as may be seen 
cut in the wall of the prison cemetery. It is usual only 
to cut an initial letter to denote the burial, but here it will 
be seen that the rule has been broken by the inscription, 
" Ship Flowery Land," and the date of the execution, " 22 
Feb. 1864." (See page 303.) 


Another fact in the history of the prison must be 
mentioned, that the last public execution in the Old 
Bailey took place on 26th May 1868. This was the 
Fenian, Michael Barrett, who was hanged for participating 
in the blowing up of Clerkenwell House of Detention in 
order to release Burke and Casey, who were leading 
Fenians, on 13th December 1-867, the consequence of 
which explosion is thus tersely summed up in the Times 
of 29th April 1868: "Six persons were killed 'outright'; 
six more died from its effects, according to the Coroners' 
Inquests; five, in addition, owed their deaths indirectly to 
this means : one young woman is in a mad house ; forty 
mothers were prematurely confined, and twenty of their 
babes died from the effects of the explosion on the women ; 
others of the children are dwarfed and unhealthy. One 
mother is now a raving maniac ; one hundred and twenty 
persons were wounded ; fifty went into St. Bartholomew's, 
Gray's Inn Lane, and King's College Hospitals ; fifteen are 
permanently injured, with loss of eyes, legs, arms, etc. ; 
besides twenty thousand pounds worth of damage to per- 
son and property." 

The abolition of public executions involved a departure 
from previous custom, and the Home Office authorities sent 
a circular to the governors of gaols throughout England, 
laying down the following rules with respect to private 
executions : — 1. For the sake of uniformity, it is recom- 
mended that executions should take place at the hour of 
eight a.m. on the first day after the intervention of three 
Sundays from the day on which sentence is passed. 2. The 
mode of execution, and the ceremonies attending it, to be 
the same as heretofore in use. 3. A black flag to be hoisted 
at the moment of execution, upon a staff placed on an 
elevated and conspicuous part of the prison, and to remain 
displayed for one hour. 4. The bell of the prison, or, if an 
arrangement can be made for that purpose, the bell of the 
parish, or other neighbouring church, to be tolled for fifteen 
minutes before and fifteen minutes after the execution. 
The new law on the subject provides that the sheriff is to 
see the law carried out, the surgeon is to sign a certificate 
of death, and a coroner's inquest is to be held upon the 



body. The certificate of death is to be exhibited for twenty- 
four hours, near to the principal entrance to the prison. 

As time went on, the want of a central power to control 
all the prisons in England was badly felt, and on 12 th July 
1877 an Act received the royal assent (40 & 41 Vict. c. 21), 
entitled An Act to Amend the Law relating to Prisons in 
England, in which it was provided that, " On and after the 
commencement of this Act, all expenses incurred in respect 
of the maintenance of prisons, to which this Act applies, 
and of the prisoners therein, shall be defrayed out of moneys 
provided by Parliament " ; and Prison Commissioners were 

On 31st December 1881, Newgate, as a city prison, 
ceased to exist, but some misapprehension was made as to 
its future, and it was generally expected that it would be 
pulled down. All doubts, however, was set at rest by the 
following letter addressed to the Common Sergeant : — 

"Whitehall, 3 Jan. 1882. 

"My Dear Sib, — I have to acknowledge the receipt of. 
your letter of the 2nd inst., which I have shewn to Sir 
William Harcourt. 

"In reply. Sir William desires me to say that there 
appears to be a great deal of misapprehension abroad, with 
regard to the real intentions of the Government as to the 
future use of Newgate prison. 

" These intentions are, simply, that, henceforth, this prison 
shall only be made use of during the Sessions of the Central 
Criminal Court, and not for the detention of prisoners in the 
intervals. In future, therefore, the prisoners for trial at 
the Central Criminal Court will be committed to Clerken- 
well ; whence, at the commencement of the Sessions, they 
will be removed to Newgate, there to be detained until they 
are disposed of. I am to add that there is no intention of 
pulling down, or of altering the prison buildings. — I am, &c., 

"E. Sidney Mitford." 



Visit to Newgate — Entrance — Press Yard — Chapel — Kitchen — The 
" Debtors' Door "—Cage for Interviews— Shed for Gallows— Whipping 
Block and other Relies — Prisoner's Cell described— Prison Cemetery. 

At the time of ■writing these lines the demolition of New- 
gate has commeneed,^ and here is a short description of the 
place as it was in June 1902, when the writer, accompanied 
by a photographer, paid it a visit. 

It is not easy, except for a criminal, to get into 
Newgate, as, naturally, idle curiosity is not encouraged ; 
but when a definite purpose is given, such as writing 

1 " The first hole, towards their coming down, was made in the grim 
walls of Newgate yesterday afternoon, 

" It was in the lowest block in the Old Bailey, the one nearest the 
Sessions House. Just beneath the statue of Liberty, at a quarter past 
three o'clock, a piece of stone about the size of a foot fell out on the pave- 
ment, and a hand with a chisel in it was working away in the breach. A 
little crowd soon gathered to watch the operations. The old pigeons, 
rough and grimy as the prison itself compared with other flocks in London, 
fluttered about on the statue, evidently talking over the event with much 
excitement. The doom of the gaol was being carried out at last. 

"The part which is going first is the female prison. It has nothing 
ancient and little sentimental about it. It is really a fraud in its way. 
It looks so old, but it has been up only eighty years. There is no doubt, 
however, of its solidity. Some of its walls are ten feet thick. The only 
point of interest about it is that it overlooks the prison cemetery, the narrow 
gangway at its rear, beneath the stones of which the bodies of executed 
murderers lie buried, with nothing but initials on the walls— marking not 
the dead, but the different sections of the dread graveyard. 

" The work of demolition will not proceed at any pace till the eighty-one 
temporary cells which are being put up on the old press-yard are ready for 
occupation, in two or three months' time. These temporary cells will form 
one of the most remarkable buildings in London. They are being built simply 
on slight iron frames, with sheets of ' dove-tailed ' corrugated iron, and the 
whole will be covered with plaster inside and out. 

" It is the first complete erection of its sort in London, and is interest- 
ing because thousands of houses in the new Colonies of South Africa will be 
made in the same simple way." — Daily Mail, 16th August 1902. 




this history, every facility is given, and, armed with an 
authority from the Prison Commissioners, one can go 
boldly to the entrance in the Old Bailey and ring the 
bell for admission, without a tremor, liesponse to your 
summons is immediate, the grated door is thrown open, 
and you stand within Newgate. The illustration shows 
the strength of that door, and it ought, once for all, to 

The Main Entrance to the Prison. 

shatter any lingering faith in the luck of a horseshoe, 
for there are five of them nailed on the upper part, and, 
surely, if there is a place where " there is nae luck aboot 
the house," it is Newgate. We are now in the reception 
hall, a very plain, business-like apartment, with four chairs, 
a desk, on which is a register ; by the side of the wall are a 



few fire buckets, and on the walls are a clock and a few 
notices. The chief warder, Mr. Scott, examines credentials, 
and all afterwards is plain sailing. 

To give a detailed account of the place from one visit is 
impossible. I know we went through stone passages, which 
were none too light, and we saw the Press Yard, with 

another strong grated door. Then up some stairs, and we 
were in the chapel. This, used as we are in our modern 
churches to colour and ornament, seems singularly bald, and 
the most outrageous Protestant can find no fault with its 
appointments. There is a two-decked arrangement for the 
ordinary, at the foot of which is an harmonium ; in the 



centre of the chapel is a stove, and facing the pulpit is a 
small communion table, which is railed in. The royal 
arms, and those of the City, are conspicuous, and one or 
two texts are on the wall. The louvre screen in the top 
left corner is for the women's gallery, and this arrangement 


The Press Yard. 

allows them to see the ordinary, without themselves being 
seen by the other prisoners, some of whom sit underneath 
them, within the railed space. The woodwork is of deal, 
painted to resemble oak, and there are seats for the 
governor and other officials. It will be seen, on comparing 
an older illustration, that the arrangement of the chapel 


The Prison Chapel. 




has been somewhat modified, the pulpit having been moved 
to face the window. 

Downstairs again, and into a long exercise yard, which 
in the illustration shows the side of the prison built in 
1857-9. The other side faces the Old Bailey. The open 

door, by which the chief warder stands, leads into the 
kitchen, well furnished with scales, weights, hot plates, 
stewpans, saucepans, and kettles ; in fact, all the necessary 
adjuncts to a kitchen on a large scale. It is scrupulously 
clean, and the most fastidious could not grumble at it. 



This kitchen must have witnessed very many sad scenes, 
and many a poor wretch has passed through it, enduring 
mortal agony, for it led to the scaffold, and straight on to 
that fatal drop which was to usher them into the unknown. 
Here, as shown in the illustration, guarded by spiked hatch 
and grated door, is the dread " Debtors' Door " of iron, so 

Outside this Door the Public Executions were held. 

massive that it requires all the strength of two men to open 
it. Why this door has this name I know not, for I was told 
it was not used for debtors, and it was suggested that it 
might have been so-called because through it the poor 
wretch passed to pay his last debt. Few who pass on their 
hurried way through the Old Bailey ever think of the many 
scenes of mute agony that plain iron door has witnessed. 




Let us get away from this awful kitchen and see if New- 
gate does not contain something more cheerful ; or, while 
we are about it, let us get over all the horrors. 

We get somehow into another exercise yard, which can 
be seen from the chapel. In this yard is a curious wired 

cage, something like a suburban poultry run, seen in the 
illustration to the left of the chief warder. This, we learn, 
is the place where the prisoners see their visitors. It is a 
double cage, wired so as to prevent any article being passed 
between the various parties, although this is rendered 
practically impossible by the presence of a warder, who 
occupies a partition between them. To the right of the 


picture is the shed which contained the gallows, now sent to 
Pentonville, but which I have , no wish to perpetuate by 
means of photography. 

Out of a shed in this yard conies tumbling the whipping- 
block, now in the custody of the Corporation of the City of 
London, to whom have been presented other relics of New- 
gate, such as a set of leg-irons, an iron waist-belt, old chairs 
from the prison chapel, several volumes of records, and bust 
of Sir John Sylvester, who, on account of the severity of his 
sentences, was known in his day as Black Jack. This 
whipping-block is ■\'ery simple and very effective. The 
bottom doors open, the prisoner is marched in, they are shut, 
and fastened, and he is impotent for mischief, and, moreover, 
unable to' hurt himself; but to guard against any un- 
certainty, his wrists are imprisoned in the leather-covered 
holes in the transverse bar, which are considerately made of 
two sizes so as not to hurt the culprit. As to the other 
portion of the exhibition, the flogging, we find it very 
graphically depicted in an old engraving where a culprit is 
being whipped outside the Old Bailey Sessions House. This 
is a machine which has been productive of much good in its 
time, for your rogue cherishes his own hide, however much 
he may disfigure another's body, and one application has 
seldom been known to fail in curing his brutal propensities. 

Thence we go and see how the prisoners are housed and 
lodged, and his whitewashed cell is a pattern of cleanliness 
and order. There is no difference in them : they are about 
twelve feet long by seven feet wide, and the height up to 
the commencement of the vaulting of the ceiling is seven 
feet six inches, whilst the grated window measures three feet 
three inches by two feet. To the left of the illustration, 
leaning against the cell well, is the plank bed (a great 
improvement on the old hammock, the hooks for slinging 
which still remaining) : this is six feet long by two feet three 
inches broad. There are the sanitary arrangements, and on 
the floor are a zinc basin and an iron pail for water. In the 
right-hand corner the bedding is rolled up, having on the top 
a pillow and rugs, neatly put up. Above them, on a shelf, 
are a Bible, prayer-book, and a book from the library, a 
brush and comb, a white earthenware gallipot to drink from, 


a wooden bowl for salt, a wooden spoon, a tin plate, and a 
piece of soap. Above tbis is a printed copy of the prison 
rules. The door is opposite the window ; and, by it, in one 
corner, is a stool and shelf table, over which is a gas jet. 
The two condemned cells have no particular feature, except 

their being double the size of an ordinary one, which is 
compulsory, as the criminal after sentence is never left 
alone, one warder always being with him by day and two by 
night, which arrangement necessitates a longer table and 
form. The condemned is also indulged with a bedstead, and, 



beyond a text or two o-n the walls, they are the same as the 

After execution, the bodies are no longer given over to 
the anatomist ^ ; but after the inquest, are buried in quicklime 
in the prison cemetery, which is anarrow passage connecting 







m. I 






; ,,|p ,...™^ 

Newgate with the Old Bailey, through which the prisoners 
go to and from their trial. The only visible record of burial 
is a single initial cut in the wall, as before mentioned. This 
passage is open to the air, but is covered with an iron 

Abolished in 1832. 


grating, and is known among the prisoners as " Bird Cage 

In the prison there used to be shown a collection of 
fetters, etc. — the block on which they were riveted on, and 
taken off, the leathern strap used for pinioning the criminal 
previous to execution, the axe which was made to behead 







lBSs,mf'^'» i3^ 









The Prison Cemetery. 

Thistlewood and his fellow-conspirators, but was not used ; 
and, most gruesome of all, was a cupboard containing plaster 
casts of the heads of executed criminals. These were offered 
to the City Museum, but, on their being refused, they have, 
I believe, found a home in the Scotland Yard Museum. 



The Old Bailey— Camden— Peter Bales — Surroundings of the Old Bailey 
— Hogarth's Father — Oliver Goldsmith — Surgeons' Theatre — First 
Sessions House — Ventilation, etc. — New Sessions House — Interiors of 
Sessions House— The Sheriffs' Banquet. 

Of the Old Bailey, as a street, there is but little to be said, 
if we except the Sessions House and Newgate Prison ; its 
great peculiarity lies in its occupying parts of three parishes, 
part of Newgate being in the parish of Christ Church, 
Newgate Street; the middle part of the Old Bailey being 
in St. Sepulchre's, and its south end is in the parish of 
St. Martin's, Ludgate. Strype, writing of it in 1720, says 
that it was " an open Street, with good built Houses ; and 
well inhabited by Tradesmen and others ; being a place of 
good Resort, especially during the times of the Sessions, or 
Gaol delivery of the Malefactors." Here was born Camden, 
the antiquary, in 1550, his father being a paper stainer; 
and here lived the famous writing-master, Peter Bales, of 
whose performances a good account is given in Hone's Every 
Day Book. " On the 10th of August 1575, Peter Bales, one 
of our earliest and most eminent writing masters, finished a 
performance, which contained the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, 
the Decalogue, with two short prayers in Latin, his own 
name, motto, the day of the month, the year of our Lord, 
and reign of the Queen (Elizabeth), to whom he, afterwards, 
presented it, at Hampton Court, all within the circle of a 
single penny (silver), enchased in a ring, with borders of 
gold, and covered with a crystal ; so accurately wrought, as 
to be plainly legible, to the great admiration of her majesty, 
her ministers, and several ambassadors at court. 

" In 1590 Bales kept a school at the upper end of the 
Old Bailey, and the same year published his Writing 
Schoolmaster. In 1595 he had a trial of skill in writing 


with a Mr. Johnson, for a golden pen of £20 value, and won 
it. According to Mr. D'Israeli he ' astonished the eyes of 
beholders, by showing them what they could not see.' He 
cites a narrative among the Harleian MSS., of ' a rare piece 
of work brought to pass by Peter Bales, an EngKshman, and 
a clerk of the Chancery.' Mr. D'Israeli presumes this to 
have been the whole Bible ' in an English walnut, no bigger 
than a hen's egg. The nut holdeth the book ; there are as 
many leaves in his little book, as the great Bible, and he 
hath written as much on one of his little leaves, as a great 
leaf of the Bible.' This wonderfully unreadable book, ' was 
seen by many thousands.' " 

One of the earliest reliable accounts of the Old Bailey 
is in Howell's Londinopolis, 1657. He says: "Now again 
from Newgate, on the left hand or south side, lyeth the Old 
Bailey, which runneth down by the Wall, upon the Ditch of 
the City, called Houndsditch to Ludgate ; we have not read 
how this street took that name ; but it is like to have risen 
of some Court of old time there kept ; and we finde, that in 
the year 1356, the thirty four of Edtvard the third, the 
Tenement and Ground upon Houndsditch, between Ludgate 
on the South, and Nexvgate on the North, was appointed 
to John Cambridge, Fishmonger, Chamberlain of London; 
whereby it seemeth that the Chamberlains of London have 
there kept their Courts, as now they do in the Guildhall ; 
and, till this day, the Mayor and Justices of this City, keep 
their Sessions in a part thereof, now called the Sessions Hall, 
both for the City of London, and Shire of Middlesex ; over 
against the which House, on the right hand, turneth down 
St. George's Lane, towards Fleet Lane. 

" In this St. George's Lane, on the North side thereof, 
remaineth yet an old wall of stone, inclosing a piece of 
ground up Sea-cole Lane, wherein (by report) sometime stood 
an Inne of Chancery; which House being greatly decayed, 
and standing remote from other. Houses of that Profession, 
the Company removed to a Common Hostelry, called of the 
signe, our Lady Lnne, not far from Clement's Inne, which 
they procured from Sir John Fincox, Lord Chief Justice of 
the King's Bench ; and since, have held it of the owners, by 
the name of the New Inne. 



"Beneath this St. George's Lane, is the Lane called 
Fleet Lane, winding South by the Prison of the Fleet, into 
Fleet Street, by Fleet Bridge. 

"Next out of the high street, turneth down a Lane, 
called the Little Bayley, which runneth down to the East 
end of St. George's Lane. 

Oliver Goldsmith's House, 1803. He lived there in 1758. 

" The next is Sea Cole Lane, I think called Limeburner's 
Lane, of burning Lime there with Sea Cole : For we read in 
Eecord of such a Lane, to have bin in the Parish of St. 
Sepulchre, and there yet remaineth in this Lane, an Alley, 
called Lime Burners Alley." 

Fleet Lane and Seacoal Lane still remain ; all_else gone, 


as is Sidney House, which was, when Pennant wrote (lYVO), 
in the occupation of a coachmaker ; this was the mansion 
of the Sydney s until they removed to Leicester House. 
Hogarth's father kept a school in the Old Bailey, and he 
must have been a man of some scholarship, for, when he 
was at the coffee-house at St. John's Gate, Clerkenwell, he 
advertised that foreigners might almost always depend upon 
there meeting with someone who could converse with them 
in Latin ; and should there be no such person about, then 
he would be very happy to talk with them. There is also 
another advertisement about him in the Daily Courant, 
23rd June 1707 : "Any Gentleman or Lady that is desirous of 
having any short Poem, Epigram, Satyr &c. (published?) if they 
please to communicate the Subjects to the Authors of the 
Diverting Muse, or the Universal Medley, now in the Press, 
and wUl be continued Monthly ; or, if they have any Song, 
or other Poem of their own that is New and Entertaining, 
if they please to direct them for Mr. George Daggastaff, to 
be left at Mr. Hogarth's Coffee House in St. John's Gate- 
way, near Clerkenwell, the former shall be done Gratis, and 
inserted in the Miscellany above mention'd, as also the 
latter, both paying the Postage, or Messenger." 

Out of Green Arbour Court, which lay between the Old 
Bailey and the Fleet Eiver, which flowed down the centre 
of Farringdon Street, was Breakneck Stairs, a steep and 
dangerous flight of stone steps, leading to Seacoal Lane. At 
the top of these, at ISTo. 12 Green Arbour Court, lived, in 
1758, Oliver Goldsmith, and here he wrote The Vicar of 
Wakefield, Tlie Traveller, etc. The house and court have 
disappeared ; but it must have been an old house when 
Eawles drew it in 1803, and doubtless remained until the 
whole neighbourhood was cleared away by the -London, 
Chatham, and Dover Eailway. It was here, in March 1759, 
that Dr. Thomas Percy, Bishop of Dromore, who was then 
collecting materials for the Percy Beliques, called upon Dr. 
Oliver Goldsmith. "The Doctor was writing his Enqioiry 
into the Present State of Polite Learning in Europe, in a 
wretched dirty Eoom, in which there was but one chair ; 
and, when he, from civility offered it to his visitant, 
himself was obliged to sit in the window. While they 

S <!issS 'F' 





were conversing, some one gently tapped at the door; and 
being desired to come in, a poor, ragged, little girl, of very 
decent behaviour, entered, who, dropping a curtesy, said, 
' My mamma sends her compliments, and begs the favour 
of you to lend her a chamber pot full of coals.' " 

Prujean Square, on the same side of the way, but near 
Ludgate Hill, is so called from a knight of that name, who 
was the proprietor. 

On the east side of the Old Bailey, and adjoining the 
Sessions House, was the handsome building of the Surgeons' 
Theatre, where the bodies of those who were hanged were 
anatomatised for the benefit of surgical science. Of this 
building. Pennant writes : " By a sort of second sight, the 
Surgeons' Theatre was built near this Court of Conviction 
and Newgate, the concluding stage of the lives forfeited to 
the justice of their country, several years before the fatal 
tree was removed from Tyburn to its present site. It is a 
handsome building, ornamented with Ionic pilasters; and 
with a double flight of steps to the first floor. Beneath, is a 
door for the admission of bodies of murderers, and other 
felons ; who, noxious in their lives, make a sort of repara- 
tion to their fellow creatures, by becoming useful after 
death." In October 1796, the City of London, having pur- 
chased this hall, took possession of. it, and utilised it as 
barracks for the City of London Militia. In 1824, it was 
made into an additional Sessions House, to facilitate the 
trial of prisoners, the old House being insufficient. 

When the Sessions were first held in the Old Bailey, or 
when the Sessions House was built, I cannot find out ; and 
the first bit of print connected with it is a black letter 
single sheet folio, an order, dated 16th April 1645, respecting 
the service of the watch, etc., within the several wards of 
the City of London, which begins, "London, ss. Ad delibera- 
tionem Gaol® Domini Eegis de Newgate, tantam pro civitate 
London." Stow does not mention the Old Bailey ; but 
Strype does, and he says : "Which Sessions is kept Mne or 
Ten times every Year, at Justice Hall, commonly called the 
Sessions House ; as well for the City and Liberty thereof, as 
for the County of Middlesex. This Justice Hall is a fair 
and stately building, very commodious for that affair, having 



large Galleries on both sides or ends, for the reception of 
Spectators. The Court Eoom being advanced by Stone 
Steps from the Ground, with Eails and Banisters inclosed 
from the yard before it. And the Bail Bock, which fronts 
the Court, where the Prisoners are kept until brought to 
their Trials, is also inclosed. Over the Court Eoom is a 
stately Dining Eoom, sustained by ten Stone Pillars; and 
over it a Platform leaded, with Eails and Banisters. There 
be fair Lodging Eooms and other Conveniences, on either 
side of the Court. It standeth backwards, so that it hath 
no Front towards the Street, only the Gateway leading into 
the yard before the House, which is spacious. It cost above 
£6000 the building. And, in this place the Lord Maior, 
Eecorder, the Aldermen and Justices of the Peace for the 
County of Middlesex do sit, and keep his Majesty's Sessions 
of Oyer and Terminer, for the Trial of all Malefactors, for 
Treason, Murder, Felonies, Burglaries, and all other Eiots 
and offences, committed within the City of London, and 
County of Middlesex. This Court, or Sessions, is holden, 
most commonly, some Days before, and after, every one of 
the four Terms ; also, once in the time of Lent, and once in 
the Long Vacation, about Bartholomewtide. 

"Upon those days which the Sessions are held, which 
commonly lasts three Days, every morning before the Court 
sits, the Prisoners to be tried are brought from Newgate to 
this Place ; where there are two places provided for them to 
be kept in, until they are called to their trials : the one is 
for the Men, the other for the Women. And, at Night, 
when the Court breaks up, or adjourns to another Day, the 
Prisoners are returned back to Newgate under the conduct 
of the Sergeants and their Yeomen, who are the Sheriff's 
Officers, and take their turns to attend the Court for that 

"The Lord Maior is Chief Judge of this Court, but assisted 
by the Eecorder of the City ; and, of ttimes the Lord Chief 
Justice of the King's Bench and some other of the Judges 
upon matters of High Treason." 

This was written in 1720 ; and, in the Crace Collection 
of Views of London in the British Museum, we find a 
picture of the Justice Hall (here reproduced) in 1727, which 



very well elucidates the text. The Court, however, seems to 
be open to the air. 

There is nothing to tell of the Sessions House until 
9th October 1772, when mention is made of it in the Annual 
Register : " Several Workmen were, this day, employed at the 
Old Bailey, in making a new ventilator, and other necessary 
precautions, to prevent the effects of any malignant dis- 
temper at the ensuing sessions, several persons having died, 
who attended the last Sessions. Among other precautions. 

a contrivance is made, by a pipe, to carry the fumes of 
vinegar into the Sessions House, whilst the Court is sitting." 

The accompanying illustration of the interior of the 
Sessions House nmst have been about this date, for it is 
the frontispiece of vol. i. of the Newgate Calendar, published 
in 1773. 

A new Sessions House was built at the same time as the 
new Newgate, but it was finished much quicker, fox we read 
in the Annual Register (19th October 1774) that "the new 
Sessions House in the Old Bailey was opened for the trial 
of prisoners. In it is a large room appropriated for the use 



of the witnesses, to prevent their standing in tlie yard, 
exposed to the inclemency of the weather; or, being at 
public houses, and they are to be sent for, when wanted to 
give evidence." 

As we have seen, the place was plundered at the Lord 

George Gordon riots, and the accompanying engravings of it, 
and new prison of Newgate, show it just after it had been 

Pennant (l'793) writes : " The Sessions House, in which 

criminals of the county of Middlsex, and the whole capital, 
are tried, is a very elegant building, erected within these few 
years. The entrance into the area is narrow, to prevent a 
sudden ingress of mob. Above is the figure of Justice. 
Every precaution has been taken to keep the Court airy, and 
to prevent the effect of the effluvia arising from that dreadful 
disorder, the gaol fever. The havoke it made in May 1750, 



was a melancholy admonition to those interested in every 
Court of Justice. My respected kinsman, Sir Samuel Pennant, 
Lord Mayor ; Baron Clark ; Sir Thomas Abney, judge of the 
Commonpleas ; the under sheriff; some of the counsel ; several 



'\ . 

:l N> 

of the Jury, and of other persons, died of this putrid dis- 
temper. Several of these fatal accidents have happened in 
this kingdom, which makes the surprize the greater, that the 
neglect of the salutary precautions was continued till the 
time of this awakening call." 



This etching, by T. E. Shepherd shows us the Sessions 
House and Newgate in 1814; the interior is somewhat near 
the same time, and represents it exactly as it then was ; the 
last picture of the interior being a modern one. 

George Cruikshank has given us a very amusing picture, 
if not a very accurate one, of the interior of the Court of 
Sessions, in ^'Summer-y Justice — the heat of argument." 
This does not appear in Eeid's catalogue of Cruikshank's 
works. (See page 335.) 

It would be strangely contrary to the traditions of civic 
hospitality, did not the sheriffs entertain the judge, etc., on 

the occasion of the sessions. This festivity gave rise to some 
scandal. What it was like in old times we get a ghmpse 
in the Quarterly Sevieiv for 1 836 (vol. Iv. p. 474), in a review 
of Walker's gastronomic book, TJie Original : " If we are not 
misinformed, the fiat has gone forth, already, against one 
class of City dinners, which was altogether peculiar of its 
kind. We allude to the dinners given by the Sheriffs during 
the Old Bailey sittings, to the judges and aldermen in 
attendance, the Eecorder, Common Sergeant, City pleaders, 
and, occasionally, a few members of the Bar. The first 
course was rather miscellaneous, arid varied with the season, 
though marrow puddings always formed a part of it; the 




second never varied, and consisted exclusively of beef steaks. 

Summer-y Justice — the heat of argument. 

The custom was to serve two dinners (exact duplicates) 
a-day ; the first at three o'clock, the second at five. As the 

judges relieved each other, it was impracticable for them to 


. partake of both, but the aldermen often did so, and the 
Chaplain, whose duty it was to preside at the lower end of 
the table, was never absent from his post. This invaluable 
public servant persevered from a sheer sense of duty, till he 
had acquired the habit of eating two dinners a-day, and 
practised it for nearly ten years, without any perceptible 
injury to his health." 

Now, of course, everything is altered. The judge makes 
a remark "that, perhaps, this is a convenient time for an 
adjournment," and, waited upon with the respect due to 
the majesty of the law, is ushered to a luncheon which 
might be found on the table of any gentleman of means, 
saving it always includes turtle soup, without which, one can 
hardly imagine a civic meal. 


Hanging in the Bible— Hanging at Tyburn— Misson's Account— Scenes at 
Executions— Aueodotes— Etymology of Tyburn— First Execution— Site 
of Gallows — Jeffries Reprieved — Gardiner in his Shroud — Clever Tom 
Clinch — Bellman's Exhortation — New Drop at Newgate— Loss of Life 
at an Execution — Scandal at an Execution — Severity of the Laws — 
Public Executions — "Last Dying Speeches" — Tyburn Tickets. 

Among the Jews the putting to death of a man by hanging 
was a divine command, as we find in Numbers xxv. 4 : 
" And the Lord said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the 
people, and hang them up before the Lord, against the sun." 
And in other parts of the Bible we have the hanging of 
people recorded. Thus, in Genesis, the chief baker was 
hanged ; in Joshua, not only the King of Ai thus suffered 
death, but " the five kings hanged he on five trees." In 
2 Samuel there are several instances. Eechab and Baanah 
were hanged by David, " over the pool," after having their 
hands and feet cut off. And hanged, too, were the two sons 
of Eizpah, and the five sons of Michal, the daughter of 
Saul. Of these corpses the beautiful httle story is told, so 
touching in its exhibition of maternal affection, how " Eizpah, 
the daughter of Aiah, took sackcloth and spread it for her 
upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest, until water 
dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the 
birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of 
the field by night." ^ In Esther we hear of two chamber- 
lains being hanged, and also Haman (who would have 
hanged Mordecai) and his sons. 

These instances will show the antiquity of this kind of 

^ According to Deut. xxi. 22, 23, a body should not remain hanging all 
night, but must be buried the same day. In this case, however, they were 
accursed, and were left hanging until the first rain fell upon them, which 
was taken as a token from God of reconciliation. 



death; and in England, except in cases of high treason, 
it has been the judicial form of death for certainly two 
centuries. Why (unless they were considered accursed) it 
is scarcely possible to conceive ; for, under the old rSgime, 
hanging was the most painful death known, whereas by 
decapitation, or strangulation by the garotte, death is almost 
instantaneous. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 
our method of execution was most brutal. There was the 
long ride of the criminal in an open cart, with his coffin by 
his side, either to Tyburn or to the spot where he com- 
mitted the murder, furnishing all along the route a holiday 
for the good folk ; the cart was stopped under the gallows, 
the rope was fastened round the criminal's neck, the carman 
gave his horse a lash, and the poor wretch was left swaying 
to and fro, kicking. If he had friends they would try to 
shorten his agony by hanging on to his legs and beating his 
breast — a shocking sight. Men and women grew quite 
callous to the sight, and many even joked about it. " Mr. 
Ordinary visits his melancholy Flock at Newgate by Eight. 
Doleful Procession up Holborn Hill about Eleven. Men 
handsome and proper, that were never thought so before, 
which is some Comfort, however. Arrive at the fatal Place 
at Twelve. Burnt Brandy, Women and Sabbath breaking 
repented of. Some few Penitential Drops fall under the 
Gallows. Sheriffs Men, Parson, Pickpockets, Criminals, all 
very busie. The last concluding peremptory Psalm struck 
up. Show over by One." 

M. Misson, who visited England in the reign of 
Wniiam III., and who wrote a most valuable record of that 
visit, tells us that " Hanging is the most common punish- 
ment in England. Usually this execution is done in a great 
road^ about a quarter of a league from the suburbs of 
London. The Sessions for trying Criminals being held but 
eight times a year ; there are, sometimes, twenty malefactors 
to be hanged at a time. 

" They put five or six ^ in a Cart (some gentlemen obtain 
leave to perform this journey in a coach), and carry them, 
riding backwards, with the rope about their necks, to the 

1 Tyburr. = Usually three. 


fatal tree. The executioner stops the cart under one of the 
cross beams of the gibbet, and fastens to that ill-favoured 
beam one end of the rope, while the other is round the 
wretch's neck : this done, he gives the horse a lash with his 
whip, away goes the cart, and there swings my gentleman, 
kicking in the air. The hangman does not give himself the 
trouble to put them out of their pain ; but some of their 
friends or relations do it for them. They pull the dying 
person by the legs, and beat his breast to despatch him as 
soon as possible. The English are people who laugh at the 
delicacy of other nations, who make it such a mighty matter 
to be hanged ; their extraordinary courage looks upon it as 
a trifle, and they also make a jest of the pretended dis- 
honour, that, in the opinion of others, falls upon their 

" He that is to be hanged, or otherwise executed, first takes 
care to get shaved, and handsomely drest, either in mourn- 
ing, or in the dress of a bridegroom. This done, he sets his 
friends at work to get him leave to be buried, and to carry 
his coffin with him, which is easily obtained. When his 
suit of clothes, or night robe, his gloves, hat, perriwig, nose- 
gay, coffin, flannel dress for his corpse,^ and all those things 
are bought and prepared, the main point is taken care of, 
his mind is at peace ; and, then, he thinks of his conscience. 
Generally he studies a speech, which he pronounces under 
the gallows, and gives in writing to the Sheriff, or the 
Minister who attends him in his last moments, desiring that 
it may be printed. Sometimes, the girls dress in white, 
with great silk scarves, and carry baskets full of flowers 
and oranges, scattering these favours all the way they go. 
But, to represent things as they really are, I must needs 
own that, if a pretty many of the people dress thus gaily, 
and go to it with such an air of indifference, there are many 
others that go slovenly enough, and with very dismal 

" I remember, one day, I saw in the Park, a handsome 
girl, very well dressed, that was then in mourning for 
her father, who had been hanged but a month before, 

^ At that time burial in woollen stuff was compulsory. 


ab Tyburn, for false coinage. So many Countries, so many 

There were sad and revolting scenes at the gallows. 
The notorious pirate, Captain Kidd, went to his death 
drunk, which, as Paul Lorrain, the ordinary of Newgate, 
observes, " had so decomposed his Mind, that, now, it was in 
a very bad Frame." The rope broke, and he fell to the 
ground, which somewhat sobered him ; and, before he was 
finally strangled, he listened to the chaplain's ministrations. 
A previous chaplain, in 1691, was roughly treated by Tom ^ 
Cox, a highwayman,! "fg,,^ before he was turned off, Mr. '' 
Smith, the Ordinary, desiring him to join with the rest of 
his Fellow Sufferers in Prayer, he swore a great Oath to 
the contrary, and kickt him and the Hangman, too, off the 

When one Dick Hughes, a housebreaker, was, in 1709, 
going to execution, "his wife met him at Saint Giles's 
Pound ; where, the Cart stopping, she stept up to him, and 
whispering in his Ear, said. My dear, who must find the 
Eope that's to hang you. We, or the Sheriff ? Her Husband 
reply'd. The Sheriff, Honey ; for who's obliged to find him 
Tools to do his Work ? Ah ! (reply'd his Wife) I wish I 
had known so much before, 'twould have saved me two 
Pence, for I have been and bought one already. Well, well, 
(said Dick again) perhaps it mayn't be lost; for it may 
serve a second Husband. Yes, (quoth his Wife) if I've any 
Luck in good Husbands, so it may." 

Another story is told, in the same book, of one Jack 
Witherington,^ a highwayman, who, when going up Holborn 
Hill to execution, " he order'd the Cart to stop ; then, desir- 
ing to speak to the Sheriff's Deputy, who attends Criminals 
to the Place of Execution, he said to him, I owe. Sir, a small 
Matter at the Three Cups Inn, a little farther, for which I 
fear I shall be arrested as I go by the Door ; therefore, I 
shall be much obliged uo you, if you will be pleas'd to carry 
me down Shoe Lane, and bring me up Drury Lane again to 
the Place for which I am design'd. Hereupon, the Deputy 

1 History of the Lives of the Most Noted Highwaymen, <i:c. , by Captain 
Alexander Smith, 1714. 

^ A companion of Claude Duval. 


Sheriff telling him that if such a Mischance should happen, 
he would Bail him ; Jack, as not thinking he had such a 
good Friend to stand by him in time of Need, rid very 
contentedly to Tyburn." 

Where was this Tyburn, so famed as a place of execution, 
and of which Gay sings, in the Beggars' Opera — 

" Since Laws were made for ev'ry degree 
To curb vice in others as well as mo, 
I wonder we ha'n't better Company 
Upon Tyburn Tree. 

" In short, were Mankind their merits to have. 
Could Justice mark out each particular knave, 
Two-thirds the creation would sing the last stave 
Upon Tyburn Tree." 

It derives its name either from Twy bourne — two brooks 
— or the united brooks, or else, which is most probable, from 
Aye-bourne — t'Aye bourne — which rises in Hampstead, and, 
recei^'ing nine other rills, crossed Oxford Street about Strat- 
' ford Place and discharged itself into the Thames, forming 
Thorney Island or Westminster. 

The earliest execution I can find which took place there 
is mentioned by Roger de Wendover, who says that a.d. 1196 
William Fitzosbert or Longbeard was drawn through the city 
of London by horses to the gallows at Tyburn ; and, passing 
over four centuries, it was well known to Shakespeare, as 
shown in Love's Labour's Lost (Act iv. sc. 3), a quotation 
which settles its triangular shape. 

" Bii-on. Thou mak'st the triumviry, the corner-cap of society. 
The shape of love's Tyburn, that hangs up simplicity.'' 

That the gallows stood close to the Edgware Eoad, and 
in 1741-45, in lioque's map, it is placed in the centre of the 
road, whilst Park Lane is called Tybpn Lane, is undoubted ; 
but its exact situation is still uncertain. Evidence points that 
No. 49 Connaught Square was built on its site, and in the 
lease of the house from the Bishop of London it is so stated. 
But, against this, a correspondent in Ifotes and Queries (2 S. 
X. 198) says that "the late Mr. Lawford, the bookseller, of 
Saville Passage, told me that he had been informed by a 



very old gentleman, who frequented his shop, that the 
Tyburn tree stood as nearly as possible to the public 
house in the Edgware Eoad, now known by the sign of 
the Ho-p-poles, which is at the corner of Upper Seymour 
Street ; he having several times witnessed executions there." 
Another correspondent (4 S. xi. 98) practically indorses this 
site. He says ; " The potence itself was in Upper Bryanston 
Street, a few doors from Edgware Eoad, on the northern side. 
The whole of this side of the street is occupied by squaliir 

tenements and sheds, now 
(1st February 1873) in 
the course of demolition ; 
and, on the site of one 
of these, under the leve 
of the present street, is 
to be seen a massive 
brickwork pillar, in the • 
centre of which is a large 
socket, evidently for one 
of the pillars of the Old 
Gallows. An ancient 
house at the corner of 
Upper Bryanstone Street 
and Edgware Eoad, which 
has been pulled down 
within the last few weeks, 
was described to me as 
the only one existing in 
the neighbourhood, when 
executions took place at 
Tyburn; and from the balcony in front of which the 
Sheriffs of London used to take their official view of the 

We get a vivid picture of the sad procession to Tyburn 
in the accompanying illustration of Edward Jeiferies faint- 
ing on the arrival of a respite, near St. Giles's, on his way to 
Tyburn. Jefferies deserved hanging as much as any man 
ever did, for his crime was murder, but he had influential 
friends who exerted themselves to obtain a reprieve, and 
even got a promise of it from the Duke of Ormonde, who 


knew somewhat of his family. But, although a respite was 
granted, yet it was only for a few days, for he was executed 
21st September 1705. 

We see the triple gallows of Tyburn, its grand stand of 
spectators, and the sheriff's carriage, in this picture of Stephen 
Gardiner in his shroud making his dying speech at Tyburn 

on 3rd February 1724. He was executed for burglary, and 
according to the Neicgate Calendar, " while under sentence, 
Gardiner became sensible of the wickedness, both of his 
heart and life ; he looked upon all his actions with abhor- 
rence, and, with many tears, received the Sacrament, resign- 
ing himself in the most humble manner to his fate. Before 


he went out of the prison, he dressed himself in his shroud ; 
and, although it was an extreme cold day, yet he refused to 
put anything over his body." 
Dean Swift wrote — 


"going to be hanged, 


" As clever Tom Clinch, while the rabble was bawling, 
Rode stately through Holborn to die in his calling, 
He stopt at the George for a bottle of sack, 
And promised to pay for it when he came back. 
His waiscoat, and stockings, .and breeches, were white ; 
His cap had a new cherry ribbon to tie't. 
The maids to the doors and the balconies ran, 
And said, ' Lack-a-day, he's a proper young man ! ' 
But, as from the windows the ladies he spied. 
Like a beau in the box, he bow'd low on each side ! 
And when his last speech the loud -hawkers did cry 
He swore from his cart ' It was all a damn'd lie ! ' 
The hangman for pardon fell down on his knee ; 
Tom gave him a kick in the guts for his fee : 
Then said, I must speak to the people a little ; 
But I'll see you all damn'd before I will whittle ! i 
My honest friend Wild ^ (may he long hold his place) 
He lengthen'd my life with a whole year of grace. 
Take courage, dear comrades, and be not afraid. 
Nor slip this occasion to follow your trade ; 
My conscience is clear, and my spirits are calm. 
And thus I go off without prayer book or psalm ; 
Then follow the practice of clever Tom Clinch, 
Who hung like a hero, and never would flinch." 

There was a very curious ceremony connected with the 
execution of prisoners, which is thus described in Strype's 
edition of Stow, 1720. " Mr. Robert Dow, Merchant Taylor, 
that Deceased 1612, appointed the Sexton, or Bellman of 
St. Sepulchres to pronounce solemnly two exhortations to 
the persons condemned; for which, and for ringing the 
Passing Bell for them as they are carried in the cart by 
the said Church, he left 26s. 8d. yearly for ever. 

1 A cant word for confessing at the gallows. ^ Jonathan Wild. 


" The Exhortation to ie pronounced to the condemned prisoners 
in Newgate, the night lefore their Execution. 

" You Prisoners that are wilUn, 
Who for Wickedness and Sin, 

" After many Mercies shewn Yon, are now appointed to 
Dye to Morrow in the Forenoon : Give Ear and understand, 

that to Morrow Morning the greatest Bell of St. Sepulchre's 
shall Toll for You, in Form and Manner of a Passing Bell, 
as used to be tolled for those' that are at the Point of Death. 
To the End that all Godly People hearing that Bell, and 
knowing that it is for You, going to your Deaths, may be 
stirred up heartily to pray to God to bestow His Grace and 
Mercy upon you while you live : I beseech you, for Jesus 
Christ, his sake, to keep this Night in Watching and Prayer 


for the Salvation of your own Souls, while there is yet Time 
and Place for Mercy, as knowing To morrow you must 
appear before the Judgment Seat of your Creator, there to 
give an Account of all Things done in this Life, and to 
suffer Eternal Torments for your Sins committed against 
Him, unless upon your hearty and unfeigned Eepentance, 
you find Mercy, through the Merits, Death and Passion of 
your only Mediator and Advocate, Jesus Christ, Who now 
sits at the Pdght Hand of God, to make Intercession for as 
many of you as penitently return to Him." 

" The Admonition to he pronounced to the condemned Criminals 
as they are passing ly St. Sepulchre's Church Wall to 

"All Good People, pray heartily unto God, for these 
poor Sinners, who are now going to their Death, for whom 
this great Bell doth Toll. 

" You that are condemned to Dye, Eepent with lament- 
able Tears : Ask Mercy of the Lord for the Salvation of your 
own Souls, through the Merits, Death, and passion of Jesus 
Christ, who now sits at the Eight Hand of God, to make 
Intercession for as many of you as penitently return unto 

" Lord have Mercy uijon You. 
Clirist have Mercy upon You. 
Lord have Mercy upon You. 
Christ have Mercy upon You." 

When the place of execution was changed froui Tyburn 
to the front of Newgate, in the Old Bailey, this ceremony 
had to be somewhat modified. The Bellman of the parish 
went, on the night previous to the execution of condemned 
prisoners, to Newgate, and repeated the following verses, as 
an admonition — 

" All you that in the condemned hole do lie, 
Prepare you, for to-niorrow you shall die ! 
Watch all, and pray, the hour is drawing near 
That you before the Almighty must appear : 


Examine well yourselves, in time repent, 
That you may not t'eternal flames be sent. 
And when St. Sepulchre's bell to-morrow tollp. 
The Lord above have mercy on your souls ! 
Past twelve o'clock !" 

The handbell used by the bellman, may be seen on a 
bracket in St. Sepulchre's Church. 

On oth December 1783, criminals were ordered to be 
hanged at the Old Bailey instead of at Tyburn, and in the 
Gentleman's Magazine (vol. Iviii. p. 361) for 1788, we read : 

" 23 Ap. This day, the malefactors ordered for execution 
on the 18th were brought out of Newgate, about eight in the 
morning, and suspended on a gallows of a new construction. 
After hanging the usual time, they were taken down, and 
the machine cleared away in half an hour. By practice, the 
art is much improved, and there is no part of the world 
where villains are hanged in so neat a manner, and with so 
little ceremony." This was, in all probabihty, the gallows 
given in the illustration, for which I can find no date ; it is 
only called A Perspective View of the temporary Gallows in 
the Old Bailey. The idea of a falling trap-door to expedite 
the death of a criminal was not new, for it was used at the 


execution of Earl Terrers, in 1760 ; as we see in Remarlcable 
Trials, 1765 (vol. ii. p. 347). "His arms were secured by a 
black Sash, and the Halter, which was a common one,^ was 
put round his neck. He then mounted a part of the Scaffold 
raised eighteen inches higher than the rest ; and, the signal 
being given by the Sheriff, that part of the Floor sunk under 
to a level ndth the rest, and he remained suspended in the 
Air." There seems to have been a later, "new drop"; for 
the Annual Eegister for 1807, records that on 27th July, 
''John Eobinson, of Mickleby, near Whitby, farmer, was 
executed at York, on the new drop." 

On the 23rd February 1807, two men and a woman were 
hanged in front of Newgate ; and, as early as five o'clock in 
the morning, immense crowds of people, of both sexes and 
all ages, began to assemble in the Old Bailey. " Just before 
the culprits mounted the scaffold, the feelings of the 
spectators were agitated to a most alarming degree by the 
deplorable situation of a very great number of persons in the 
crowd, (which had now amounted, according to the best 
calculation, to nearly 40,000) who, from extraordinary 
pressure and other causes, were every moment in danger of 
being suffocated, or trampled to death. In all parts there 
were cries of Murder ! Murder ! particularly from the female 
'part of the spectators and boys, some of whom were seen 
expiring, without the possibility of the least assistance being 
afforded them, every one being employed in endeavours to 
preserve his own life. The most affecting scene of distress 
was witnessed at the corner of Green Arbour Lane, nearly 
opposite the Debtor's door. The terrible occurrence which 
took place near this spot, is attributed to the circumstances 
of two pie men, attending there to dispose of their pies ; and, 
one of them having his basket overthrown, some of the mob 
not being aware of what had happened, and, at the same 
time, severely pressing, fell over the basket and the man at 
the moment he was picking it up, together with its contents. 
Those who once fell, were never more able to rise, such was 
the violence of the mob. At this spot, therefore, several 
persons were instantly trampled to death. A woman, who 

' This is contrary to the general belief that he was hanged in a silken 


brought with her a child at the breast, was one of the 
number liilled : whilst falling, she forced the child into the 
arms of a man nearest to her, requesting him to save its life ; 
the man, finding it required all his exertions to preserve 
himself, threw the infant from him, but it was caught at a 
distance by another man; who, finding it difficult to ensure 
its safety, or his own, got rid of it in a similar way. The 
child was again caught by a person, who contrived to struggle 
with it to a cart, under which he deposited it until the danger 
was over, and the mob had dispersed. In other parts the 
pressure was so great, that a horrible scene of confusion 
ensued, and several persons lost their lives by suffocation 
alone. It was shocking to behold a large body of the crowd, 
as in one convulsive struggle for life, fight with the most 
savage fury with each other ; the consequence was, that the 
weakest fell a sacrifice. As fast as the mob cleared away, 
after the execution, and those on the ground could be picked 
up, they were conveyed in carts, and on boards, to 
Bartholomew's Hospital." The number of deaths in the 
crowd was twenty-eight ; of those injured, I have no idea. 

This illustration is supposed to be a representation of 
the execution of John Carpenter alias Hell-Fire Jack, the 
noted horse-stealer (4th April 1805), and is here given to 
show an execution at that period. Here the poor rogues 
look somewhat penitent, but they were not always so, as in 
the case of Eichard Hayward, who was hanged at Newgate 
on 28th March 1805, together with another criminal. The 
European Magazine gives the following account :—" Hay- 
ward, who is supposed to have procured a knife from his 
wife while she was permitted to see him, rushed upon the 
keeper during the altercation, and would have stabbed him 
with it, if he had not left the cell. They uttered the most 
horrid imprecations ; and, after declaring, in cant terms, 
that they would die game, threatened to murder the 
Ordinary if he attempted to visit them. Their behaviour in 
all respects was so abandoned, that the attendants were 
deterred from further interference, and left them to their 
fate. . . . When the time for quitting the courtyard arrived, 
Hayward called to a friend to deliver him a bundle, out of 
which he took an old jacket and a pair of old shoes, and put 



them on. ' Thus/ says he, ' will I defeat the prophecies of 
my enemies ; they have often said I should die in my coat 
and shoes, and I am determined to die in neither.' Being 
told it was time to be conducted to the scaffold, he cheer- 
fully attended the summons, having first ate some bread 
and cheese, and drank a quantity of coffee. Before he 
departed, however, he called out in a loud voice to the 
prisoners who were looking through the upper windows at 
him, 'Farewell, my lads, I am just a going off; God bless 

Hell-Fire Jack. 

you!' 'We are sorry for you,' replied the prisoners. 'I 
want none of your pity,' rejoined Hay ward; 'keep your 
snivelling till it be your own turn.' Immediately on his 
arrival upon the scaffold, he gave the mob three cheers, 
introducing each with a 'Hip, ho!' While the cord was 
preparing he continued hallooing to the mob. It was found 
necessary, before the usual time, to put the cap over his 
eyes, besides a silk handkerchief by way of bandage, that 
his attention might be entirely abstracted from the 


spectators. ... He then gave another halloo, and kicked 
off his shoes among the spectators, many of whom were 
deeply affected at the obduracy of his conduct." 

The punishment of death was getting a scandal. Dr. 
Patrick Colquhoun, writing in 1806, gives a list of fifty-six 
crimes punishable hy the deprivation of life ; and where, upon 
the conviction of the offenders, the sentence of death must 
be pronounced by the judge. Of these, it has been stated, 
the whole, on the authority of Sir William Blackstone, 
including all the various shades of the same offence, is about 
160. Here is a sample taken haphazard at only one Sessions 
at the Old Bailey, ending 24th September 1801. " Sentence 
of death was then passed upon Thomas Fitzroy alias Peter 
Fitzwater, for breaking and entering the dwelling house 
of James Harris, in the daytime, and stealing a Cotton 
Counterpane. William Cooper for stealing a linen cloth, 
the property of George Singleton, in his dwelling house. J. 
Davies for a burglary. Richard Emms, for breaking into the 
dwelling house of Mary Humphreys, in the day time, and 
stealing a pair of Stockings. Richard Forster for a burglary. 
Magnus Kerncr for a burglary, and stealing six silver spoons. 
Robert Pearce for returning from transportation. Richard 
Alcorn for stealing a horse. John Noviland and Richard 
Freke for burglary, and stealing four tea spoons, a gold snuff 
box &c. John Goldfried for stealing a blue coat. Joseph 
Huff for stealing a lamb, and John Pass for stealing two 
lambs." I do not say that these were all hanged, but they 
were sentenced to death. 

The punishment of death in the cases mentioned by 
Dr. Colquhoun remained until it \\as abolished in many 
cases by Sir Eobert Peel's Acts, 4 to 10 George iv., 1824-9, 
and by the Criminal Law Consolidation Acts the punish- 
ment of death was confined to treason and wilful murder 
in 1861. 

Public executions became a disgrace, they were simply 
carnivals for all the rascaldom and scum of London ; they 
answered no good purpose; people fought, drank, blasphemed, 
and picked pockets under the shadow of the gibbet; the 
death of a fellow human being was turned into an orgie, or 
a sight for morbid curiosity, as in the case of George ^elwyn, 


and as recorded by Bar ham in the Ingoldshy Legends, where, 
my Lord Tom Noddy and M'Fuze, 

" And Lieutenant Treegooze, 
And Sir Oarnaby Jenks of the Blues, 
All came to see a man ' die in hia shoes !'" 

Gin-sodden hags bawled out the " last dying speech and 
confession " of the culprit — not at all authentic or true, but 
hissing hot from Catnatch's factory in the Seven Dials. 
This curious custom of recording a poor wretch's end 
originated with the ordinaries of Newgate, and added 
materially to their income. The library of the British 
Museum has a collection of forty of those by Paul Lorrain 
from 1703 to 1718. They are far too long for transcription 
here, but a short description of one, say the first of them, 
may be acceptable. It is " The Okdinaky of Newgate, his 
Account of the Behaviour, Confessions, and Dying Words of 
John Peter Drammatti, Elizabeth Tetherington alias Smith, 
and Jane Bowman, who were executed at Tyburn, on 
Wednesday, the 21st of July, 1703." He tells us how he 
constantly visited them in the condemned hold, had them in 
the chapel twice a day, and preached a sermon to them on 
two consecutive Sundays. He gives copious notes of these 
sermons ; and, then, short biographies of the prisoners ; after 
which is a description of and eulogy on their edifying 
behaviour and death ; winding Tip with, " May their Death 
be a happy warning to those who were condemned with 
them, and afterwards reprieved, and may it particularly be 
so to Thomas Cook ; who, being with the rest carry'd out of 
Newgate in a Cart, in order to his Execution, was brought 
back again by virtue of a Eeprieve till Friday next, which 
he met, in his way, about Bloomshury, and which I pray God 
may prove to the good of his Soul." 

Of the modern or Catnatch species the nation possesses 
a large variety. "The Execution of Wild Eobert" here 
given, is not strictly a " last dying speech and confession," 
it is more of a moral poem ; but it is here inserted because 
of its excellent illustration of an execution, with the chaplain 
in the cart, and because its general get up is a good imitation 
of the genuine article. 



But the real thing, direct from "the Dials," generally 
had either a very bad delineation of the crime, or a rough 

The ExECUTioK of Wild Robert- 

Bciitg a }f^aming to, tiU Parents. 


/^ILD ROBFaT «us||neclcf> Yowti» 
Ami txiM in cwtv Gb i 
En c«fl)( tif" *»iih pwrv iKifu 

But thuli, ttlio (leal in Icflef fiii'tj 

tn gitu toll fwra offiiid I 
And t>«iiv ihcht. AM clti'<)i'd bcdiBU) 

Im miinfer fuoR ia»f god. 
\iid iu>w. like aay hc«ft af prevr 

Willi XtibtnJTMhiL fVnai vicsff 
&«Tr^hcn«it:<M«n Sigftol hliub 

He UMI hli lutdCB'd CKV. 

I^Al* IcKc new Vlld X^crttbEre 
On pluadm ftt Ul "Mr 

AtOi VMVh'd Ud PFDWM tiMt U«I^IdSS<'l!^ 

'" mfa asd Aigr mmkiiri^ 

EMw* nncr Bctpt* 

Hw pMl^rum villib iw* , 

Within 1 wielib'nnii vaocti 
A lurrakb piKcnjterlta rubtt'i^ 

Anddf'd hl^ baub In t)k>aA< 
ThcdJrrrutliijdp-rfaTm'^. l-e «tM; 

T<i Oitu tat KuMni rpoiU, 
Wkh vcnsful JuOkc, lutWfcs 
' Snifttti hia Ik kir Mill. 
WiUIUbrn Irlt'd; W otMc m toowA* 

(No i.rkpc Iwf hid bit Tk' )- 
IiminCaR'di iiUd, ciiiNlmiirn tsdtcf 

Soofi rutt WW KuWrt'i iu« t 
' Snrc (hon ihc time ihr l»«* clluv 

T'l murderon duum d in die, 
Ilriwcaincd Ibua'd ittr [Hppluiu WKlcb 

To ItuiicR for tncrcjr. u^ I 
«Likl n» iwrr* TmiKhlr 


Ilii)' fumauHi'd in li/i Cm . 
Tk- t!jui dr^ B«ir Ihc iidluifi TfM# 

WbtK ihrnnii'il I^Uawr< v«ii. 
Mow aj lie piIin<T|Mou* UniauC'' 

Ciiu^rf firflh apitvuflf »«?'! 
Abhorteixe M libtf hw hit^-fcl^^ 

ttt, huTfor md d^rptli. 
And now the diftml duili-bilt lull'il, 

llir rilut cwd wa. huiix, 
Wliilo luiliirn, <]«-(>, and Uh-jijIi^ Arick), 
Buia liirA MDJdO ibe ihttmg. 

f Eittrri a SlMientn tl*lt. J 


Hark! '[>■ Hh tcMhei'* voTm be WnF . 

Uup horror Aahti h!> fnnwi . 
TI' T^o w)d taty fill hii bmft, 

Notpitjr, lc«, or flkMiW,' 
" (AWinomcni holdl" ihein<»tiercrj|4( 

" iUt lifeoDt momrm fpiTe. 
•• Ok hl&, my ni&i^Uc cUld. .. 

•' Mjr itt^rt, (BK4 Jb^dcMl*' 

Kener, ciiii>l moilm'* bcnEei Iw ftHi 

Obi drafio ntiiire'* c^j 
Y«ur'» M ([tpl^lt I llVd aMutii'ii 

And uiiltiocnted di*. 
You ^ave mc litir, but w{i& ii gar» 

UInh tfuda-ihti life 1 ciuCb t 
My fiotuncjtb'^ m/ mlMl unMujliV 

SOM pra ftfiot tet ta.^otkt .--^ 
tiauni)^.fkM if I'ftap-* rift bake ; 

Alt wno'd be welli aaA I «i|lilBWck - 
The vcngETuI paw'tofCfls. 

Uy bnd* no bones' iiubr ««n UDgKtf 

'ib plilei, lii-. 
Tbe Sabfauh bcIL thti lolTd t» choKS 

To me nibMiiiil nngj ' ' 

Can'ihol)' Dtmc and ««m I tn*^' ^ 

Wiib my bbrphmiiv >*>a|<Kt ', '^ 

Kamncy nov ^onr niia'i chM ' 

Or bMV'D Cf» <larE ilDptolEt' 

X nwk'd M grace, '«irf ^W [l^. 

My dvfOtgMck o'er, ' 
BJaiiw nui ibt Uw which tfooo* TOOf luirk 

IViUipur'J wiih loa'tfli mildv- 
Ti> yon have (eiHCiiC'd mC lu datb, 

1'u hell hiTc diMim'd your cluld. 
IlefpitLr, Md lixiDK f^ ihc e[«d, 

KrTiviii'ii Im Stiiliy lii<-nihj 
Ddmi 'I hi< Trrl hii mollwl rrll< 

By ci,ii<..imcr f^ruftl wiibdcitb. 
Tc ptmuM, iniii,-h< Hy A>f ful ulef 

A«iiid'llir ii3ih (tie uoi; 
And leKhyour tim u>rMtyy*3n 

■C\« Tmi aiidT.,vu ..f VMb. 
Srt fkiiH tlicK diys, chci' doum'd m nlf, 

Wiih [Hflf Jod hw be tilcfti 
And hrsv'u, i^hrii lift'* Iborc uflL fci o'c% 

Kcfci^c ilKir Touh (» left. . 


imiKTEK w &> CIIKAP 1. 

.Si-Id by J. 

By ifc HAZARD, 

iWNTia » lu ciicAf' atit:»i roar, it »ath < aM 17 »h Borifciiui, ni 

in) Hnl^H*^ 1''MtA 

(T CiWM iiUntmte mii b. made id Sho^uxytn JiJ «»"li 

woodcut of the murderer's hanging, a short biography, 
a description of the crime, a confession more or less true 


and reliable, and, almost invariably, a copy of verses 
written by some Seven Dials poet, of the quality of v^hieh 
the reader may judge by the following, wliich relates to 
GrSenacre : — 

" You recollect about Christmas time. 

Both in country and town, 
That the body of a female 

In Ed g ware Road was found. 
Deprived of both her legs and head, 

As plainly might be seen, 
And ever since that time till now, 

A mystery has been. 

" The legs were found near Brixton, 

How dreadful for to tell. 
And the head was found at Stepney, 

In the Regent's Canal. 
But the murderer could not be traced. 

In country, or in town, 
For the base, inhuman murder 

Of JVIrs. Hannah Brown. 

" Of such a dreadful deed as this, 

We seldom ever hear, 
And may we never have again 

To hear such a sad affair. 
But Providence did so ordain 

It should be brought to ligbt. 
And thus this awful Tragedy 

At length it was found out. 

" When to High Street Office he did go, 

With people it was filled ; 
And when he did confess the deed, 

Each breast with horror thrilled. 
He says he threw her from the chair, 

Which took away her life. 
And the limbs cut from her body 

With a sharp and deadly knife. 

" And when he had the body torn. 

Oh, where could the villain look? 
Prom place to place he went about, 

And certain parts he look. 
And when the whole he had dispos'J, 

(So Greenacre now does say) 
Had he not so soon been taken. 

Abroad he meant to steer his way." 


The next two illustrations are typical specimens of the 

I 1-ii^ Ifrial il 

I E2KE€VTi01tt 



wood engravings which adorned this style of literature. 
On the 26th May 1868, the last public execution took 

i_Bja!i<»lej's_la»l^mt(ir»iew witU hij Futlier, prcy.ous lo 1)m Execiitioni 

place in Newgate, and the last prisoner who was hanged 
there, was George Woolfe, who was executed on 6 th May 


1902, for the murder of his sweetheart, Charlotte Cheesenaan, 
on Tottenham Marshes, on 25th of the previous January. 

Before closing this book I must mention a peculiar 
institution called a Tyhurn ticket, which originated in 1697. 
This ticket was granted to a prosecutor who succeeded in 
getting a felon convicted, and it carried with it the privilege 
of immunity from serving all parochial offices. They were 
transferable by sale (but only once), and the purchaser 
enjoyed its privileges. They were abolished in 1818. They 
had a considerable pecuniary value, and in the year of their 
abolition one was sold for £280. 



Akerman. Mr., Keeper of Newgate, 
171, 180, 181, 197, 198, 199, 202, 
206, 209, 210, 211, 212, 214, 215. 

Alderman assaulted, 17. 

Ale Conner, false, 20. 

Anderson, or Powell, the case of, 54. 

Anecdotes of hanging, 340. 

Assize, Black, at Oxford, 169. 

AssizS, Black, at Newgate, 169, 170. 


Bakers, wicked, 8. 

Bales, Peter, -322, 323. 

Ballium, 1. 

" Bank Restriction " Note. 282 to 

Barrett, the Penian, hanged, 302. 
Barrington, George, 234 to 238. 
Bayley's "Herba Parietis," 62. 
Bellingham, John, 241, 242, 243. 
Bellman of St. Sepulchre's, 344, 315, 

346, 347. 
" Bird Cage Walk," 321. 
" Blacke Dogg of Newgate,'' 49. 
Blake, Joseph, alias Blueskin, 123, 

Blueskin alias Blake, 123, 146. 
"Bocardo," 16. 
Brownrigg, Mrs., 187, 188, 189, 190, 


Calamy, Rev. Edmund, 74. 

Cameron, Dr., 174, 175. 

Carleton, Mary, the German Princess, 

Cashman, execution of, 275. 

Catastrophe at an execution, 348, 

Cato Street Conspiracy, 279 to 282. 

Clergy, benefit of, 9, 22. 

"Clever Tom Clinch," 344. 

Coin (base) finished in Newgate, 239. 

Colquhoun, Dr., 353. 

Cruikshank, G., his "Bank Restric- 
tion " Note, 282, 283, 284, 285. 

Cutpurse, Moll, 68. 

Dance, Geo., architect of Newgate, 

183, 191, 193. 
" Dead hand," the, 226, 227, 228. 
Death, crimes punishable by, 353. 
Devol's last farewell, 77. 
Dodd, Dr., 199,200. 
Diver, Jenny, 156. 
"Drop," the, 347, 348. 
Duell, William, 160. 
Duval, Claude, 76. 

Earl of Essex's rebellion, 37, 38. 
Elizabeth, plot to poison Queen, 34. 
Execution, last public, 302. 
Executions, rules for private, 302, 

Fagin, prototype of, 185. 

Fauntleroy, Hy., 283, 286. 

Fees at the Old Bailey, 117. 

Felons leave Newgate, 195, 196. 

Penning, E., 268, 271. 

Ferrers, Earl, 348. 

"Fifth Monarchy Men," 70, 73. 

" Flowery Land " pirates hanged, 301, 

Floyd's imprisonment fur slander, 41. 

Forgery, executions for, 286. 

Frith, Mary, 68. 

Fry, Mrs., 259, 268, 269— Her work 
in Newgate, 259, 260, 261, 262, 
263, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268. 

Gambling in Newgate, 291. 
Gao'ers' fees, 22, 31, 56, 71, 247, 251, 

Gardiner hanged in his shroud, 343. 
Garnish, 111, 115, 116, 117, 246, 290. 
Gates, the city, 1. 
German Princess, the, 80. 
Glover, trial of, for Gordon Riots. 

209 to 216. 
Goldsmith's house, 324, 325. 



Gordon, Lord George, 204, 205, 217, 

Gordon Kiots, 206, 217. 


Haokman, Rev. J., 202, 203. 

Hakford, John de, 10. 

Hales, Dr., 170, 171, 182. 

Hanging in the Bible, 327. 

Hanging in 17th and 18th centuries, 
338, 339, 340. 

Hanging, remarks on the punish- 
ment of, 162 — Twenty men hanged, 

Hangman hanged, 121, 217. 

Hangman sent to Newgate, 195. 

Hangman wants increased salary, 

Hayes, Catherine, 149. 

Hayward, R., execution of, 349, 350, 

"Hell, A Glimpse of," 92. 

"Hell-Fire Jack," 349, 350. 

Highwaymen, 66, 76, 97, 119, 120, 
121, 122,163, 178, 196. 

Hind, Gapt. Jas., 66. 

Hogarth's father, 345. 

Howard, John, 220, 224, 225. 

Hughes, Dick, executed, 340. 

' Insane '' persons in Newgate, 288, 

Jacobite prisoners, 89, 162. 

James, John, a "Fifth Monarchy 

Man," 70. 
Jeffries respited, 342. 
Johnson, Dr., and Mr. Beauclerk, 



Keeper's place bought, 89. 
Keeper's salary, 253. 
Kidd, Capt., executed, 340. 

Lanfare, death of Henry de, 4. 
Laud, fall of Archbishop, 60. 
Lilburne's imprisonment, 65. 
Limbo, 49. 

Lorrain, Rev. Paul, 107, 109, 354. 
Ludgate, prisoners removed from, 23. 
Lupton, D., account of Newgate, 
(1622), 40. 


Maclean (the gentleman highway- 
man), 163 to 169. 

Mary, Queen of Scots. Plot to ab- 
duct, 34. 

May-Day, Evil, 26. 

Mayor and rioters, 12. 

Medalet of Lord George Gordon, 218. 

Metal work, false, 12. 

Misson's account of an execution, 
338, 339. 

"Monster, The," 228 to 233. 

Morgan reprieved, 179. 

Mute of malice, 96. 


Newgate : Stow's account, 1 — First 
mention of, 3 — Early prisoners in, 
3 — Death of Henry de Lanfare, 4 
— In time of war, 5 — Early notices 
of, as a prison, 5 — The Sheriffs to 
have a custody of, 6, 22 — John de 
Sloghtre committed for "night 
walking,'' 7 — Wicked bakers con- 
fined in, 8 — Combiners to be im- 
prisoned there, 8 — A striker sent 
there, 9 — The case of John de 
Hakford, 10 — Men committed for 
cheating at tables, 11— Ditto for 
false metal work, 12 — Ditto for 
pretended dumbness, 12 — Ditto for 
slander, 14 — Slandering the Mayor, 
16— For false "queks," 16— A 
breviary presented to the prison, 
16 — "Booardo," 16— Man com- 
mitted for assaulting an Alder- 
man, 18 — His hand to be cut off, 
19 — Newgate a royal prison, 21 — 
Its custody given to the citizens of 
London, 22 — Officers appointed, 
22 — Prisoners removed from. Lud- 
gate to Newgate, 23 — Insanitary 
state of Newgate, 23 — Whitting- 
ton's bequest for its rebuilding, 
and royal licence for same, 24 — 
Stow's chronicle of prisoners, 25 — 
Evil May Day, 26 — Prisoners for 
faith's sake, John Rogers, 28 ; 
Robert Smith, 29 ; Rev. John 
Philpot, 30 -Newgate on fire, 32 
— A man stabbed in prison, 32 — 
Prisoners pardoned, 32 — Poor 
debtors, 33 — Catholics in New- 
gate, 33, 34, 35, 36, 39, 40, 43— 
Nonconformists there, 36, 37 — A 
marriage there, 37 — Lupton's ao- 
' count of the prison (1622), 40 — 
Prison overcrowded and prisoners 
sent away, 42 — Imprisoned for a 



trifle, 43 — Hard fare of the 
prisoners, 44 — Bad repair of New- 
gate, 44 — Keeper allows a pri- 
soner to escape, 45 — A fanatical 
prisoner, 46 — "The Blaoke Dogg of 
Newgate " : Description of the 
prison in 1638, 49 — The keeper 
allows prisoners to go at large, 52 
— Dispute as to appointment of 
keeper, 55 — Women in Newgate, 
57 — Pestilence there, 58 — Riot in 
Newgate because priests were not 
hanged, 58 — Another riot, 61 — 
Loyalist prisoners, 62 — Keeper 
pays for prisoners' food, 68 — 
Quakers in Newgate, 69 — ''Fifth 
Monarchy Men," 70 — Noncon- 
formist clergy in Newgate, 74 — 
Prisoner tries to escape, 74 — Fever 
in the prison, 74 — Newgate in- 
jured by fire (1666), 75— Re- 
paired, 75 — Pepys on Newgate, 79 
— Newgate token, 80 — Sad peti- 
tion from prisoners, 87 — Success of 
petitioning, 87 — Jacobite prisoners, 
89 — The right of the keeper to buy 
his place challenged, 89 — Metrical 
description of Newgate (1705), 92 
— Ward on Newgate, 94 — The 
press yard, 96 — "Standing mute" 
and the Peine forte et dure, 96 
— Newgate in 1717: "History of 
the Press Yard," 98 — Anecdotes of 
the ordinary, 107 — Newgate in 
1708 : " Memoirs of John Hall " • 
The master side, 110 — The common 
side, 111 — "Tangiers," 113 — 
"Jack Ketch's Kitchen" 113— 
The women's apartment, 115 — 
Jack Sheppard's first escape, 125 — 
His second, 126 — Black Assize in 
1750, 169— Ventilators with wind- 
mill introduced, 170 — Curious sun- 
dial, 177 — Attempted escape of 
prisoners, 178 — Fire in Newgate, 
180 — Courageous behaviour of 
keeper, 181 — Attempted escape of 
prisoners, 181 — Plans for rebuild- 
ing (1755), 183 — Escaped prisoner 
apprehended, 186 — New plans for 
rebuilding furnished by Dance, 
igS—First stone laid, 1 94— Un- 
ruly prisoners, 194 — Escape and 
recapture of prisoners, 197 — Un- 
safe condition of the gaol, 197 — 
Daring riot, 198, 199— Cost of 
rebuilding, 200 — State of the 
prisoners and gaol in 1779, 202 — 
The Gordon Riots, 206, 207, 209, 
210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216 
— Story of the prison keys, 216 — 

Cost of damage done to the gaol, 
218 — Howard's account of the gaol, 
221 to 224— Debtors' attempt to 
escape, 225 — Escape of felons, 226 
— Riot in Newgate, 238 — Base coin 
finished in the gaol, 239 — Account 
of interior of Newgate in 1815, 240 
— Report of the Parliamentary 
Committee of 1814 on the state of 
the gaol, 244 to 256 — Religious 
aspect of the prison, 256 to 258 — 
Mrs. Fry's work with female 
prisoners, 259 to 268 — Serious riot, 
271, 272, 273— Escape of prisoners, 
273, 274 — Report of Parliamentary 
Committee of 1818, 275, 276, 277, 
278, 279 — Inspectors report certain 
laxities in the prison, 287 — Com- 
mittee of Aldermen report thereon, 
287 to 297 — Newgate proposed to 
be condemned in 1837, 297— Pro- 
posed reconstruction in 1857, 297 
— Rebuilding determined on, 298 
— Men's side finished, 298 — De- 
scription of improvements, 298 to 
300— Women's side built, 301— 
Ceases to be a city prison, 305 — 
Its future use, 305 — Its demolition 
commenced, 306 — Visit to New- 
gate, 306 to 321— Entrance, 307, 
308— Chapel, 308 to 313— Kitchen, 
313— The "Debtors' Door," 314— 
Cage for interviews and shed for 
gallows, 315, 317 — Newgate relics 
given to the Corporation of London, 
318— The whipping block, 318, 
319— A cell and its fittings, 318, 
319, 320— The cemetery, 320, 321 
"Bird Cage Walk," 321— Rehos 
of Newgate, 321. 

Newman, Mr., Keeper of Newgate, 
253, 272, 273. 

Newspapers in Newgate, 291, 292. 

Old Bailey, 1, 322, 323, 324, 346, 347, 

349, 351. 
Ordinaries, anecdotes of, 107, 348. 

Peine forte et dure, 97, 121. 

Pepys on Newgate, 79. 

Perceval, Hon. S., 241, 242. 

Perrot hanged, 179, 180. 

Petersham, Lady Caroline, 166, 168. 

Philpot, Rev. John, 30. 

Pillory : wicked bakers, 8 ; John de 
Hakford. 10; for cheating, 12; for 
feigning dumbness 13; for slander, 



14; for false "queks," 16; for 
assaulting an Alderman, 19 ; for 
personating an ale Conner, 21 ; for 
being forsworn, 26 ; for slandering 
the King of Bohemia, 41 ; for black- 
mailing, 54; thief-takers, exposed, 
176; one killed, 177. 

" Portehors " presented to the prison, 

Powell, or Anderson, the case of, J.4. 

Poyntz, Sir N., and the Duke of 
Buckingham, 42. 

" Press Yard, History of the," 98. 

Prisons to be maintained at public 
cost, 305. 

Pui, the festival of the, 6. 


Quakers in Newgate, 69. 
"Queks," false, 11, 16. 


Rann, John (Sixteen-String Jack), 

196, 197. 
Relics of Newgate, 318, 321. 
Religion in the prison, 256, 257, 258. 
Reprieve of Morgan, 179. 
Resuscitation after hanging, 160, 161. 
Rewards for conviction of prisoners, 

Rogers, John, 28. 

Scaffold in the Old Bailey, 347. 

St. Sepulchre's bell, 344, 345, 346, 

Sessions House, Old Bailey, 182, 193, 

194, 195, 201, 209, 327, 328, 329, 

330, 331, 332, 333, 334, 335. 
Sheriffs to have custody of Newgate, 

6, 22, 55. 
Sheriffs' banquet to judges, 332, 335, 

Sheriff's fees for Newgate, 247. 
Sheppard, Jack, 123. 
Sloghtre, John de, 7. 
Sledge, drawn to Tyburn on a, 174, 

Smith, Robert, 29. 

Smith, Stephen, the case of, 47. 
Smoking in Newgate, 291. 
Spa-fields riots, 275. 
Spanish ambassador and prisoners, 

39, 88. 
Speeches, last dying, 354, 355, 356, 

Spigot, William, the case of, 97. 
Strangeways, Major, 97. 
Strikes, a way to deal with, 9. 
Sun-dial on Newgate, 177. 
Surgeons' theatre, 326, 327. 
Sydney House, 325. 

Thief-takers, professional, 176, 177. 
Thistlewood'a plot and execution, 279, 

280, 281, 282. 
Token, Newgate, 80. 
Told, Silas, 178, 190. 
Tyburn : executions ceased at, 226 ; 

its etymology, 341 ; early execution 

at, 341 ; .its situation, 341, 342 ; 

the triple gallows, 343 ; tickets, 


Ventilation in Newgate, 170, 171, 


Wall, Governor, 241. 

Walpole, Horace, and Maclean, 164, 

165, 167, 168. 
Ward on Newgate, 94. 
Whetstone, punishment of the, 10, 

11, 14, 19. 
Whipping at the cart's tail, 173. 
Whipping, death from, 54, ■ 
Whittington, Sir Richard, 21, 23, 24. 
Wild, Jonathan, 134. 
Williams, Renwick, "The Monster," 

228 to 233. 
Witherington, a highwayman, 78, 

Women burned, 226, 227, 228. 

Young, Mary, or Jenny Diver, 156.